'One nasty senior citizen' is arrested
Cops: Man, 80, shot at police because of a beef with the Inquirer.
AN 80-year-old man fired nine shots at cops in Upper Darby on Wednesday night because he had a bone to pick with the Inquirer, police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
Even two blasts from a Taser couldn't stop the sleep-deprived senior citizen, and cops had to use two handcuffs and a stretcher to get him under control.
Police responded to Joseph Smith's apartment at the Lansdowne Towers, on Providence Road near Industrial Park Drive, about 7:45 p.m. after he called 9-1-1 and threatened to kill himself and the dispatcher, Chitwood said.
Responding officers found Smith screaming from his third-floor window.
" 'I'm not leaving without shooting,' he kept saying from the window of his apartment," Chitwood said. "When we tried to negotiate with him, he would scream all types of things."
Chitwood said Smith fired three shots toward officers in the apartment building's courtyard.
Over the next three hours, Smith fired off six more rounds at police from his window. When he threatened to shoot down a news helicopter flying over the scene, police moved in and launched tear gas into his window, Chitwood said.
Cops then entered Smith's apartment, threw a stun grenade into his room and allegedly found him on all fours with a 9 mm gun in his hand.
Smith dropped the gun, but when six officers tried to take him into custody he struggled - even after he was hit twice with a Taser, police said. It took officers two pairs of handcuffs and a stretcher to get Smith out of the house.
"He's one nasty senior citizen," Chitwood said.
Police said they recovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a 9 mm gun and a .22-caliber rifle from Smith's apartment.
Chitwood said that Smith was screaming about the Inquirer during the standoff and that police later learned that Smith had "some beef" with the newspaper over losing money in stocks.
Smith's family told police that he hadn't slept in four days, but it was unclear if Smith - who does not have a criminal record - was intoxicated, Chitwood said.
"Let me tell you something: The way he was acting and how strong he was, he had to be on something, but I don't know for sure," he said.
Meanwhile, another violent episode was unfolding in Upper Darby.
Around 9 p.m., Roger Scudder, 56, returned to his home on Marshall Road near Church Lane drunk and high on pills and started destroying things with a hammer because he was angry at his wife, according to police.
"He totally devastated the house, then he set the chair on fire in a rowhome," Chitwood said.
Lansdowne Officer Mark McGinnis - who responded to the call while Upper Darby officers were dealing with Smith - managed to grab the burning chair and throw it on the lawn before the fire spread, Chitwood said.
"You hear of people rescuing children and cats and whatever else - this guy rescued a chair, but his quick action probably saved a catastrophic event of several houses being engulfed in flames," Chitwood said.
Both Smith and Scudder were arraigned on various charges and remanded to the Delaware County Prison.