By Mike Fletcher Kokomo Tribune
---- — The SWAT team was deployed after a man wanted for questioning in a sexual battery incident held police at bay for several hours while he holed up in a north side residence Wednesday.
The standoff in the 2500 block of North Buckeye Street ended peacefully at about 3 p.m. when Ronald E. Johnson, 34, surrendered unharmed.
Police charged Johnson with criminal recklessness, two counts of intimidation, sexual battery and battery. He is being held at the Howard County jail without bail.
Police initially went to the area at 9:49 a.m. to a report of a sexual battery at a nearby residence, but were unable to locate Johnson, the alleged suspect, Maj. Brian Seldon said at the scene.
Upon seeing police leave the area, the complainant in the battery flagged down an officer at about 11 a.m. and said Johnson threatened her with a handgun.
The officer then saw Johnson run into a house at 2506 N. Buckeye St. and tried to make contact with him. He refused, prompting police to secure the area and set up a perimeter, Seldon said.
The SWAT unit was called in shortly after 2 p.m. after attempts to make contact failed.
With a crowd of people watching, SWAT members urged Johnson to come out and talk to investigators.
“Ronald, this is the Kokomo Police Department. We need to talk to you,” a SWAT member said using a bullhorn. “We’re not going away.”
After repeated attempts failed, SWAT deployed a non-lethal explosive device called a flash bang to get Johnson to come out. Moments later, the suspect walked out the front door with hands raised and surrendered. Officers quickly moved in and placed him under arrest.
Several neighbors watched from a block away, along with Johnson’s brother. He declined to comment on the situation.
Along with the recent charges, Johnson has a domestic violence battery charge pending in Howard Superior Court 1 involving a different victim, court records show. Police arrested Johnson on that felony charge last year. He was released on his own recognizance with a condition he attend the Nonviolence Education Program put on by Family Services Association of Howard County. Johnson was then re-arrested after he failed to appear for a pretrial hearing in October. He was released on his own recognizance again in December. He now has an Aug. 15 hearing in that case.