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Man charged in hostage situation has history of conflict with women, police

By Ed Runyan

Thursday, August 29, 2019

By Ed Runyan


A judge has ordered Shawn M. Riley to remain in the Trumbull County jail without eligibility to make bond, because there is probable cause he violated a condition of his bond on an earlier case.

Riley was arraigned Wednesday in Warren Municipal Court on four counts of kidnapping and one each of felonious assault and aggravated burglary following a Tuesday police standoff at the Highland Terrace apartments.

A not-guilty plea was entered for him.

The felonious assault charge accuses Riley, 25, of causing a deep cut and bruising to the mother of two of his children. The woman, 25, said Riley caused the injuries during the nearly four hours he held her and three children hostage.

Judge Thomas Gysegem said one of the conditions of Riley’s bond earlier this month on a failure to comply charge was that he possess no weapons. The judge said Riley, of Bane Street in Warren Township, appears to have violated that condition.

Riley was charged with failure to comply in an Aug. 3 incident that involved the same woman while she was staying at a home on Nelson Mosier Road in Braceville Township. It is one of numerous incidents described in police reports obtained by The Vindicator in which Riley has acted violently in recent years.

During Tuesday’s hostage episode, police said Riley threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend, dragged her by her hair, held a knife to her throat, cut her face, choked her until she fell unconscious, punched her a half-dozen times and kicked her with steel-toed boots. She suffered a deep facial cut, and her face was badly bruised and swollen.

The episode began about 4:10 p.m. and ended about 8 p.m. when Riley gave himself up to police.

The woman told police she had just picked up her three daughters from school and was talking on her phone in front of an apartment when Riley walked up. He grabbed her phone and dragged her by the hair into the apartment.

Riley told the girls to come inside the apartment, where witnesses could see them through the front window. Capt. Jeff Cole of the Warren Police Department said he doesn’t know where the children were throughout the hostage situation, but the girls were exposed to traumatic situations.

A man who tried to intervene after seeing Riley pull the woman into the apartment said Riley claimed to have a gun and threatened to shoot him; he saw only a knife, however.

When Warren police arrived, they were able to get inside the apartment. They saw Riley at the top of the stairs holding a knife to the woman’s neck and holding her by the hair.

The episode ended peacefully some 31/2 hours after the initial 911 call. Around 7 p.m., police were able to remove the three girls, age 4, 5 and 9. The woman walked away from the apartment with police officers a short time later.

Outside of court after Riley’s arraignment, his great aunt, Janice Courtney of Niles, said he’s a good father to his kids. It’s crazy for him to be charged with kidnapping his three children because of how much he cares about them, she said.

It’s the second time this month Riley has been involved in a tense situation with police. On Aug. 3, the same woman called police to her home on Nelson Mosier Road in Warren Township because she feared Riley was trying to break in. When police arrived, Riley was gone, but officers learned Warren police had started to chase him in his car. Riley reached his home on Bane Street and barricaded himself inside. After a little while, he allowed himself to be arrested.

He was charged in Warren Municipal Court with failure to comply with the orders of a police officer, which was bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury Aug. 13 and is pending.

Judge Gysegem set conditions for Riley’s bond – that he possess no weapons and that he receive counseling for for alcohol and drug use and mental-health issues.

The same woman also called police to the Braceville residence July 16, saying she had left Riley because he had been beating her. He was in her driveway demanding to pick up his children but had left by the time police arrived. No charges were filed.

A June 17 report alleged that Riley threatened a different woman at her house in Warren, pointing a shotgun at her and threatening to shoot. No charges were filed.

On July 27, 2017, he was charged with disorderly conduct after Niles police said he was on Main Street yelling at officers, using vulgar language and saying he “hated cops.” Police left him there and went on another call, but Riley went to the police station to continue his tirade, yelling and at one point trying to punch a police captain. He was arrested. The charge was later dismissed, but he was convicted of resisting arrest.

Two other women reported that Riley threatened to kill them at a Warren gas station when they saw him there April 10, 2017. No charges were filed.