Troopers: Suspect pulls rifle on officer

Stehley allegedly made suicidal comments, threats

TYRONE — A Snyder Township man is behind bars on charges he pointed a loaded rifle at a Tyrone police officer.

Benjamin R. Stehley, 25, 240 Beastons Road, Tyrone, faces three felony counts of aggravated assault along with misdemeanor gun and assault charges stemming from an incident Sunday at a home on Beastons Road, where he allegedly pointed a loaded rifle at Tyrone Police Officer Ethan Yohn.

According to charges filed by state police, Stehley had been in a crash early Sunday morning where Yohn was assisting state police. Yohn gave Stehley a ride from the crash scene back to the Beastons Road home where Stehley had been staying. Along the way, Stehley allegedly made suicidal comments and threats.

When Yohn escorted Stehley inside the home, no one was there, and Stehley allegedly told the officer that he wanted to die.

Police said Yohn told Stehley that he was taking him to UPMC Altoona for a mental health evaluation, and Stehley indicated he had been involuntarily committed in the past.

When Yohn allowed Stehley to change his shoes because Stehley had glass in his boots due to the crash, Yohn turned his back on Stehley as he sat on a chair, but when Yohn heard the chair move, he turned to see Stehley “grabbing a rifle from behind a nearby antique stove in the dining room,” state police noted in the charges.

Yohn, who had drawn his handgun and pointed it at Stehley, demanded he drop the rifle.

“How does suicide by cop work?” Stehley allegedly asked Yohn as he held the rifle.

Yohn later told state police he thought Stehley was going to shoot him. When Stehley turned toward Yohn, the officer stepped to the side so the rifle was not pointing at him, and after a struggle, Yohn was able to get the gun away from Stehley, state police said.

Yohn took Stehley into custody, and he was taken to UPMC Altoona where he was committed for a mental health evaluation.

Stehley was arraigned Wednesday evening after he was released from UPMC Altoona, and bail was set by Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller at $250,000 cash.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Tyrone District Court.