ARCOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The man found dead after a standoff in Arcola Wednesday afternoon has been identified.
Tanner Ray Dennis, 19, of Fort Wayne, shot himself in the chest, according to the Allen County Coroner’s report.
The standoff took place inside an apartment above the post office in the small western Allen County town. Police believed Dennis had been involved in a robbery at the S&V Liquor store on Illinois Road earlier in the day, but could not confirm he was the suspect. Dennis was the only one in the apartment when police entered around 5:15pm.
Before police entered, SWAT members and negotiators from the Allen County Sheriff’s Department tried to make contact with him by using sirens and speaking through a loud public announcement speaker.
“When we have somebody held up in a house, we want to make contact and make it as safe as possible for the person inside the house, plus the surrounding community, and the officers who are on the scene,” Jeremy Tinkel, a spokesperson with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, said. “When we have the negotiators team out there, they try to make contact with the person and some communication to see if we can resolve this in a peaceful manner, instead of making entry, and get the person to come out. Obviously, in this situation, it didn’t go that way.”
Police tried to communicate with Dennis for about 45 minutes before deciding to enter the building.
Police had closed off a large area around the building and evacuated people out of the apartments and the nearby area, as police said they thought Dennis was armed with a high-powered rifle.
S&V Liquor store on Illinois Road robbed
According to Fort Wayne Police Department spokesman Michael Joyner, a man wearing a grim reaper mask entered the S & V Liquor store located at 9960 Illinois Road at around 1:10 p.m. and robbed it. It’s unclear if the man had a weapon. Fort Wayne police responded to the store and an employee told them the robber drove off in a red truck that didn’t have a bed.
Police located a truck matching the description at a home on County Line Road and the owners told officers that they weren’t involved in the robbery, but that they noticed a similar truck when they had passed through Arcola.
When police went to Arcola they found the truck parked at some apartments in the 11000 block of Arcola Road. They saw a person of interest inside one of the apartments. SWAT was then called in and a standoff ensued before the situation had been secured.