A 27-year-old man who barricaded himself inside his South Mountain Avenue home Tuesday was arrested on charges that include attempted aggravated murder of two Ashland police officers.
Benjamin Kwiatkowski surrendered to police at about 1:30 p.m. after a standoff that lasted more than eight hours and involved Ashland, Talent and Phoenix police officers and the Medford police SWAT team.
Kwiatkowski fired a rifle at two officers as they knocked on his door at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Corey Falls of the Ashland Police Department.
The house, situated in the 600 block of South Mountain Avenue, is less than a block from Southern Oregon University.
The officers were not injured in the incident, he said.
They were responding to a 9-1-1 call received at 5:15 a.m. about a fight at the house, Falls said.
When the officers knocked on the back door of the basement of the house, Kwiatkowski fired a shot through the wall, about a foot above the officers' heads, according to police.
"As they were knocking and saying, 'police, police,' the shot was fired," Falls said.
For the incident involving the officers, Kwiatkowski was arrested on two charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Kwiatkowski was also charged with second-degree assault, harassment and disorderly conduct for the fight that occurred before officers arrived.
He was lodged in Jackson County Jail on more than $3 million bail.
According to police, Kwiatkowski hit Talent resident Daryl Hickman, 23, with a baseball bat at the home, before officers arrived.
Hickman, whose girlfriend lives at the South Mountain Avenue home, had "some bumps and bruises" from the beating but was not hospitalized, Falls said.
After the shot was fired, the three Ashland officers on the scene called in support from the Talent and Phoenix police departments. A short time later, commanding officers made the decision to call in the Medford Police Department SWAT team, Falls said.
Police were mum Tuesday morning on the circumstances involving the shooting, so it was unclear to bystanders that he had fired a shot toward police officers.
It's also unclear why Kwiatkowski remained barricaded alone in his house for more than eight hours, Falls said.
"That's being investigated right now," he said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "I don't know why he didn't come out sooner." Kwiatkowski eventually surrendered and was arrested without further incident.
Police closed the 600 block of South Mountain Avenue to traffic after the shot was fired and rerouted cars around the scene of the incident. Neighbors in homes adjacent to the home where the shot was fired were voluntarily evacuated, Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said Tuesday morning.
Although the residence is near SOU and Ashland High School, police said Tuesday they did not believe the suspect posed a danger to anyone outside the 600 block of South Mountain Avenue.
"It's close to the university, but it's not that close and we don't really see any danger outside that immediate area," Holderness said.
There are no other suspects in the case, Falls said. Detectives were continuing their investigation into the incident.
Holderness said his officers weren't too shaken up by the shooting incident.
"We never like to hear it, but we deal with it," he said.
Holderness said he was relieved no one was injured in the standoff.
"That's the first and foremost reason we waited out there so long, because we wanted it to be resolved peacefully — for our officers and for the suspect," he said. "It just takes time. That's the key to these incidents."
Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456, ext. 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.