Standoff in city ends peacefully

An Altoona man surrendered peacefully Sunday evening after an hour-long standoff that followed his firing shots from a handgun in the air – apparently to draw police to the scene – then firing towards them after they showed up.

Michael J. Turiano, known as John, 44, has been charged by city police with assault on law enforcement, aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment, according to detective Sgt. Matt Starr.

Facebook played a key role in the incident, with Turiano using it to announce it had begun, then police using it to establish contact with him, leading to the resolution.

Just before 7 p.m., Turiano fired the shots, then posted the message, “I just went out and shot six shots off for dad. I wonder if the cops will show up ??”

Earlier, he had posted that it had been a year since his father had died, adding “I hope you are proud of me. RIP.”

The police indeed showed up, and were out back of his house on the 100 block of East Sixth Avenue when Turiano – who was alone in the house – came out, said “I know you guys are out here,” and fired in the general direction of the officers, who had taken protected positions, according to Starr.

At that point, the department “called everybody in,” Starr said.

Officers – including Logan Township police – barricaded Sixth Avenue and nearby alleys and took up positions watching the house.

They also summoned Turiano’s ex-wife, who began communicating with Turiano – who had gone back inside – on Facebook, according to Starr.

Others also were sending him messages, including “Don’t do anything crazy John. They shut the road down and everything.”

“I hope they come, then I can tell them how I feel,” Turiano responded.

His ex-wife advised him that Starr would like to talk with him, and he turned on his phone, Starr said.

Starr then spoke with Turiano, establishing a “quick rapport.”

They talked about personal issues, he said.

Starr told him he didn’t want anyone to get hurt and suggested he come out, giving him explicit instructions to leave the gun inside, turn on lights and come out a specific door.

Turiano complied exactly, he said.

Turiano’s alleged actions violate an ordinance that prohibits firing a gun within the city limits.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.