Shooting may have been suicide attempt

By Anthony Antoine |, Betty Simpson |

Published 06/18 2014 12:07PM

Updated 06/19 2014 11:46AM

Update: 10:01 pm
DECATUR -- Some scary moments for people when gunshots were heard at an area motel. A man sat in his room at the Decatur Inn firing his rifle. It happened in the 3000-block of North Water Street. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine has more.

No one was hurt, but police say the man's mental health is questionable. They don't have a motive. Guests at the motel say it's not how they wanted to start their day.

"We got a phone call in our room."

On the other line, the Decatur Police Department.

"As soon as I opened my door, there was cops everywhere and it scared the heck out of me. I was in tears. He was like, 'Don't grab nothing,' I was like, 'Nope, my son's in there. I have to get him.'"

Ruby Walavich grabbed her 5-month old son and ran out.

"We heard some loud bangs."

On the floor below, officers say 69-year old Stephen Hathaway fired ten shots from his rifle. They weren't taking any chances.

"They took all the guests that were in the hotel. They put them in the side bedroom over here and everybody had to stay there."

After police evacuated the hotel, they cleared out neighboring businesses like Wendy's and McDonald's. They also diverted traffic away from the Route 51 - Pershing Road intersection.

"When we were all in that room over there, he shot like four or five more times. It sounded like it was getting closer and closer."

Police continued negotiations with the gunman over the phone. Minutes later, he decided to surrender.

"It was really scary. I didn't know what was going on. I was just by myself trying to hold him and keep him calm."

Walavich is thankful nothing happened, but things are different now.

"I really want to move from this hotel. It's kind of scary now. I don't know if it's going to happen again or not."

Police say it's possible Hathaway tried to kill himself. He'll be charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. Hathaway's rifle is registered.
Original: 12:07 pm
DECATUR -- An area man is in police custody after reports of gunshots at the Decatur Inn. Police responded just before 8 am, to the 3000-block of North Water Street.

Nearby area businesses were evacuated to ensure the public's safety. When officers arrived, the subject fired ten rounds from a Remington rifle. It's unclear if he shot at police or just fired the weapon.

The 69-year old white man was eventually taken into custody just after 9 am without incident. The man has been living at the Decatur Inn for about two years.

Authorities say he may have initially been trying to kill himself. The investigation is ongoing. No one was hurt.

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