ADAMS TWP — It took several hours, but a manhunt led by township police with help from state police and other local departments ended late Sept. 10 with the capture of a man suspected in a domestic dispute during which a gun was fired, authorities said.
Grant A. Werner, 31, of Center Township is in the Butler County Prison on $50,000 bail. He is charged with burglary and terroristic threats, both felonies, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.
Werner was booked in to the prison at 1:13 a.m. Sept. 11, authorities said, nearly seven hours after Adams Township police were called to his parents' farm on the 1100 block of Mars-Evans City Road.
His mother reported that when she returned home the evening of Sept. 10, she found Werner working on the farm, police said. He apparently got into an altercation with her over an ongoing property dispute.
She recounted that when he became more aggressive toward her, she went into the house to get away from him. She locked the door.
Werner at some point allegedly retrieved a handgun and he used his own keys to unlock the door to the house. Once inside, police said, he began waving the gun at his mother.
The woman grabbed a cellphone and ran to the bathroom, eventually locking herself in the room and calling 911. She said she feared for her life. No injuries were reported.
At some point, police said, she heard a gunshot.
Investigators suspect Werner fired a handgun into the ground outside the home, said Bob Scanlon, Adams Township's assistant police chief.
The woman, while still locked in the bathroom, also heard what she believed was the engine of her son's car revving and tires spinning in the driveway.
Police arrived and safely evacuated the woman. Scanlon said he did not immediately know if anyone else was in the house.
Werner's car was located on the property, but he could not be found, police said. They believed he was armed and still somewhere on the farm.
Mars fire police assisted in closing Mars-Evans City Road between Hutchman and Myoma roads.
A state police helicopter equipped with infrared sensors was used in the search. Also assisting in the search were police from Jackson, Middlesex and Cranberry townships; Evans City-Seven Fields Regional Police; and emergency service units from Butler and Beaver counties.
“There were 14 outbuildings on the property that had to be cleared,” Scanlon said, explaining the magnitude of the search.
The farm encompasses 124.22 acres, according to the Butler County Assessment Office.
Scanlon said that while police looked for Werner, they tried “pinging” his cellphone every five minutes, but to no avail. They suspected he had turned it off.
Authorities said the suspect was eventually arrested without incident around 10:55 p.m.
“He was found on the second floor, or loft, of one of the buildings,” Scanlon said.
He did not have the gun on him, Scanlon said, but police said he told them where it was — in the drawer of a desk in the same building. It was identified as a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol.
District Judge Kevin O'Donnell arraigned the defendant around 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Werner's preliminary hearing is set Sept. 24 at the office of District Judge Wayne Seibel in Evans City. Online records did not list an attorney for Werner.