Suspect taken into custody by officials after hours-long situation

The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor Officials utilize an Elkins Fire Department ladder truck during what was believed to be a ‘barricaded suspect situation’ on Taylor Avenue Friday night.

ELKINS — Police officers arrested a suspect after the search for the man led to streets being blocked off Friday night, residents being warned to stay away from the area and a tactical response unit arriving on the scene.

Steven James Phares, 30, is charged with possession of a controlled substance. He was booked at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. He is being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, with bond set at $15,000 cash only.

Officials were notified at about 6:20 p.m. Friday of a “barricaded suspect situation on the 1400 block of Taylor Avenue in Elkins,” Cpl. T.C. Bennett, the commander of the Elkins Police Department’s Tactical Response Unit, wrote in a press release.

“The events leading up to the barricade situation involved the suspect, Stephen Phares, threatening multiple people with a firearm,” Bennett wrote in the release.

Police established a perimeter around the residence where Phares was believed to be and evacuated the adjacent residences, the release states.

An 8:20 p.m. post on Elkins City Hall’s Facebook page read, “Law enforcement is asking that citizens avoid the area near Taylor Ave. and 15th St. as they are responding to an emergency situation. Please take an alternate route if driving or on foot. Notice will be posted when the situation is resolved.”

After several hours of surrounding the house and attempting to get Phares to come outside, police entered the home, but Phares was not there, officials said.

“(The Tactical Response Unit) worked through a progression of steps in order to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation, including attempts to negotiate with the suspect throughout,” the press release states. “These efforts culminated in T.R.U. making tactical entry into the residence. The suspect was not located inside the residence, but was taken into custody in the area a short time later.”

Bennett stressed that “The Elkins Police Department took all necessary steps to make this situation as safe as possible for the public.”

The release states, “The Tactical Response Unit would like to thank all of the agencies that assisted in bringing this situation to a safe and peaceful resolution including the West Virginia State Police, Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Elkins Fire Department, Randolph County EMS and West Virginia Division of Corrections K9 Unit.”