A 33-year-old Ottawa man spent the holiday weekend eluding law enforcement officers until he was apprehended after a standoff on Monday afternoon.
Justin Donovan was arrested and is currently being held in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., pending formal charges for numerous crimes committed in Ottawa over the past few weeks, according to an Ottawa Police Department news release.
Donovan was arrested for multiple auto thefts, felony interference with law enforcement, and criminal damage to property. Other charges are possible as the investigation continues.
Donovan was under surveillance after a reported stolen vehicle in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was spotted in Ottawa on May 23 at a residence in the 400 block of West Second Street. The car and other stolen items were recovered at the scene but Donovan eluded arrest.
On Saturday, Donovan allegedly stole a red, 1997 Chevy Camaro which was left running at Casey’s General Store and headed north. The vehicle was reported to contain firearms. An officer with the Wellsville Police Department spotted the vehicle on I-35 heading north and the chase led them to Johnson County where tire deflation devices were used to stop it, but Donovan fled. Officers heard a gunshot but did not locate him. The stolen vehicle was recovered but not a handgun that was reported to be in the vehicle. A female passenger in the vehicle was questioned and released, the news release said.
Later that afternoon, just before 6 p.m., Donovan was spotted again at the residence where the first vehicle was recovered. Members of the Ottawa Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office had arrived at the residence, surrounded the house and attempted to negotiate with Donovan. Officers evacuated several families that lived in the multi-unit apartment house. STAR Team responded to the scene and began a barricaded subject operation. A search warrant was executed at the residence looking for Donovan but he was not located. Officers recovered a vehicle believed to be stolen but not yet reported at the home. Adam Weingartner, Ottawa assistant chief of police and STAR Team commander, said officers did all they could to apprehend Donovan and still keep citizens safe.
Donovan was spotted twice on Sunday, first at the same apartment officers attempted to apprehend him at the day before around 6 a.m. Then around noon, he was spotted at a home in the 700 block of West Second Street, directly across the street from the Ottawa Police Department. Donovan was allegedly fleeing bounty hunters trying to revoke his bond from a previous arrest and had confronted him inside the home. They used a Taser, which had no effect.
According to reports, Donovan then went out a window and onto the roof of a carport where officers attempted to talk to him. He went back inside the home and Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies arrested him, again using a Taser.
“The delicate balance between public safety and capturing Donovan meant we used extreme caution during all of these operations,” Weingartner said. “Donovan was wanted for property crimes in Ottawa but our officers knew the threat of violence was real after a gun was stolen. Donovan made numerous threats to harm officers during his arrest — and tried to follow through on his threats several times just before his arrest. During the first stand-off on Second Street, officers believed Donovan was hiding underneath the house, in a crawl space that was too small for tactical officers to enter safely — they could just not physically fit to see inside the space safely we believe Donovan was hiding in.
“There were several other families that lived in this building; and doing further damage to try and locate Donovan was not an option for a property crime at this point in the investigation,” he said. “Once the risk for property damage was lower, and there was nowhere for Donovan to escape to, officers and deputies moved quickly and swiftly to arrest Donovan and bring this spree to an end.”
Donovan was treated and released at the scene after receiving a laceration trying to escape through the broken window. No officers or citizens were injured.