tampabay.com

Standoff ends in three arrests

Two of the men face a charge of attempted homicide in a drive-by shooting in April.

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published May 29, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - A five-hour standoff ended peacefully Monday when three men surrendered to SWAT officers.

The three had taken refuge in a house in southern St. Petersburg after a short car chase with police.

The first to surrender was Joseph Siplin, 24. The second was Myreon Harrison, 22, of 3928 Eighth Ave. S. The third was Joshua McClendon, 21.

Harrison and McClendon each face a charge of attempted homicide in connection with an April 3 drive-by shooting, police said. Charges were pending against Siplin and the other two for Monday's incident. Addresses were not available for Siplin or McClendon.

"I'm glad he walked out, " said Siplin's mother, Emily Faircloth. "I was scared. ... I'm still scared, still shaking."

Faircloth said her son had done nothing wrong.

"He was just with the wrong people at the wrong time, " she said.

Monday's standoff had its origins in an April 3 drive-by shooting in the 3800 block of 10th Avenue S, police spokesman Bill Proffitt said. No one was injured, but warrants were issued for the five men believed to be involved in the shooting. One was arrested soon after, and police continued to search for the others, including Harrison and McClendon, Proffitt said.

About 2:45 p.m. Monday, a St. Petersburg police officer spotted Harrison getting into a white Cadillac Escalade at 34th Street and 46th Avenue S. The officer tried to stop the car, but it sped away. The officer chased the Escalade until the three men jumped out and ran into the house at 5030 Fourth Ave. S.

The family ran out of the house, Proffitt said, but were too afraid to say much to police. Negotiators and the SWAT team were called to the scene.

Negotiators tried calling the men on the telephone and to communicate using a bullhorn, but the three never responded. Instead, they called relatives, who called police. Several also came to the scene.

That's how Faircloth found out her son was in trouble.

"He said, 'Ma, come and get me, ' " she said. "I told the police, 'I need to get my baby.' "

Police evacuated some houses near the scene, and people began gathering as the afternoon wore on. Finally, about 7:50 p.m., Siplin and Harrison came out the front door with their hands up and lay on the ground. A few minutes later, McClendon came out the back door on his knees with his hands in the air.

The standoff was over almost exactly five hours after it began.