Standoff in Elm Grove ends peacefully

WHEELING – John Lough thinks his $20,000 bond for two misdemeanor brandishing charges is a bit excessive despite his five-hour standoff with police Thursday night in Elm Grove.

Multiple police units, including Wheeling SWAT and Crises Negotiation Teams, responded to a call to Lough’s Kruger Street home regarding an ongoing domestic dispute involving a gun.

A criminal complaint states that as officers approached they saw several people running around the neighborhood screaming “get down there, he has a gun.”

Another person yelled “he has a shotgun to her head, he is going to kill her.”

According to the report, police spoke with a woman and two juveniles who told them the children were playing in the neighborhood when they attempted to enter the Lough home, but could not gain access through the front door.

The report states they entered through a rear door and discovered the front door had been barricaded with a wooden wedge. They also saw a shotgun on the bed shared by Lough and his wife.

A woman told police she sent the children to her house and began searching for Mrs. Lough before finding her and a 5-year-old near the Rite Aid store at Kruger Street and National Road.

The woman said Mrs. Lough did not call police and took off running toward her home.

Witnesses said they then saw Mrs. Lough lying in a neighbor’s yard as if she was hiding from someone and they saw Lough standing at his front door holding a shotgun.

According to the report, two juveniles made eye contact with Lough and he pointed the shotgun in their direction. They fled until they saw police arriving.

Wheeling Police Detective Matt Taylor said members of the Negotiation Team could not contact Lough by telephone during the standoff.

“They used a bullhorn and talked him out,” Taylor said. “He surrendered peacefully.”

In West Virginia, brandishing is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $1,000 and/or jail for up to one year for each count.

During a video arraignment this morning, Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby set a cash bond of $10,000 each on the the two counts of brandishing resulting from the standoff with police that started at 8:45 p.m. Thursday and ended peacefully when Lough, 44, of 421 Kruger St., surrendered to police at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“If there are no felony charges involved here, why is the bond so high?” he asked Roxby.

The magistrate explained that bond amounts are based on two factors – risk of flight and threat to the community.

“I have lived here all my life,” Lough said. “How am I a flight risk?”

Roxby replied, “Circumstances surrounding this case clearly indicate you are a threat to the community. That, and the fact that you had a felony burglary charge in 1998.”

After Lough told Roxby the burglary charges had been dismissed to a lesser offense, the magistrate told Lough he would could seek a bond reduction hearing once he gets an attorney.