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Standoff ends with tear gas in Rotterdam

Standoff ends with tear gas in Rotterdam

Man taken into custody following BB gun incident
Standoff ends with tear gas in Rotterdam
A man pulled by police out of his home after an hours-long standoff Tuesday
Photographer: Marc Schultz

ROTTERDAM -- A 56-year-old Rotterdam man who allegedly shot his next door neighbor with a BB rifle and vandalized his property was taken into custody late Tuesday afternoon after a nearly eight-hour standoff with police.

Rotterdam police identified the man as Brian E. Beloncik, Sr., of 4th Avenue, located in the neighborhood between Hamburg Street and Interstate 890.

Members of the Schenectady Police Department's Special Operations Squad fired tear gas into Beloncik's house around 4:30 p.m.

Paramedics stripped off Beloncik's tear gas-damaged clothing when he come out of the home; he and a woman who also was inside the house were taken to Ellis Hospital for treatment for gas inhalation.

Rotterdam police became involved when a neighbor dispute complaint was phoned in shortly before 8 a.m.

"The caller reported that his neighbor was spray-painting vulgarities on his property, on his home, on his trailer," said Detective Lt. William J. Male. "We were here investigating that complaint and shortly after that there was a secondary complaint of the suspect exiting his home brandishing a BB gun and actually shooting our caller with the BB gun."

The caller, Robert Paturso, later showed a reporter a small red, circular mark on his abdomen. He didn't need medical treatment, but said at first he didn't know he was looking at a BB gun.

"First it was, 'He shot me!'" Paturso said. "I saw him point it right at me, it was a rifle."

Paturso, 55, praised Rotterdam police for their quick response.

"They made this whole neighborhood feel safe," he said. "They were right on top of it. When he shot me, one officer ran to me and got me out of the way real quick. The other guy tried to get him but he got into the house. In seconds, the whole place was surrounded."

Police closed off the block on 4th Avenue between 4th Street and 5th Street while officers negotiated with Beloncik for several hours. Vulgarities could be seen on one black, two-wheel trailer parked near the front of Paturso's home.

Some neighbors were evacuated from their homes.

An officer on a loudspeaker could be heard just after 3:15 p.m. ordering someone inside a residence to come to the door and follow the officer’s instructions.

"He failed to listen to our commands," Male said. "Ultimately, we were assisted by the Special Operations Squad, they put gas into the residence. After several minutes, the suspect ended up emerging from the residence."

Male said police had to be cautious. There were reports firearms were stored inside the house. There was also a threatening sign on the property.

"Essentially, it said, 'If you enter my residence you'll be shot,'" Male said.

Male also said Beloncik is known to police. He has been arrested in the past on charges such as criminal contempt, criminal mischief, menacing and aggravated harassment.

"We've been responding to this residence for several years for various complaints," he said.

On April 21, Beloncik was arrested by Guilderland police on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.

Police alleged Beloncik stole property from a Western Avenue residence shortly after midnight. During his flight from the home, police  said, Beloncik held a knife and threatened to use the blade on the resident.

Beloncik had not been formally charged in Rotterdam by late Tuesday evening. Male said charges of menacing, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment were possible.

Paturso said he has been going "back and forth" with Beloncik for a couple years. He said neighbors on the street are wary of the man.

"Nobody can do anything with their kids out here," Paturso said.

A woman who lives nearby said her family has had problems with Beloncik in the past.

"We stay away from him," said the woman, who did not want to give her name. "We keep to this side of the street."

Carman firefighters wore air tanks and gas masks and worked inside the house after Beloncik had been taken from the scene.

Male said police had obtained a search warrant and would inspect the house.

The incident follows a six-hour standoff in Schenectady earlier this month that ended in a man’s arrest.

"We do encounter these types of things," Male said. "I won't say we encounter them often, but they do happen. In this day and age, you never know what people are capable of and we want to take the necessary precautions to ensure our safety, the suspect's safety and certainly the safety for the citizens of the neighborhood."

Gazette reporter Steven Cook contributed to this article.



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