A standoff that lasted over four hours and caused Concord High School, Junior High School and Intermediate to be locked down ended with the suspect surrendering peacefully to police.
Richard Doerscher Jr., 36, was arrested for domestic battery and resisting arrest and has been taken into custody after a standoff at his home at 59163 Melrose Place in Elkhart County.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Dept. was called for a domestic dispute at the address, but when they arrived, Doerscher barricaded himself inside the house and refused to exit.
The victim of the domestic battery, Doerscher’s girlfriend, managed to escape the house and call police. She and their shared two-year-old child remained safely out of the home as the standoff ensued.
Cpt. Jim Bradberry of the sheriff’s department reported that Doerscher’s girlfriend sustained a few scratches and was not severely injured. She was able to assist police negotiators as they attempted to bring Doerscher outside.
Police quickly began establishing several perimeters around the house in case the situation escalated—sending local Concord schools under lock down as a safety precaution—all the while neighbors living on nearby Airic Way and Melrose Place were kept largely in the dark about the situation.
“Terrified,” said Alison Osborne, a mother of five who lives just around the corner from the standoff, “I didn't know what was going on with my daughter and I didn't know what was going on with my street, each end of my street was blocked off.”
Osborne’s oldest daughter attends Concord High School and received a panicked phone call from her asking what was happening in their neighborhood. Osborne said she never received a phone alert that the school was locked down, while her daughter was stuck inside hearing rumors of a shooting on her street.
Students were sequestered in their classrooms, some in the cafeteria, until they were given the go-ahead to return home. Osborne and her daughter spent the rest of the afternoon like many of their neighbors: mulling around outside trying to figure out what exactly was going on.
“When I saw a cop walk by my house with a shotgun drawn…it was terrifying” Osborne added.
According to Cpt. Bradberry SWAT units were on standby and several police perimeters were established around the house. Concord Fire Dept. and EMS were placed on standby several blocks away until receiving a call before 6:00 p.m. to put out several fires.
“There were different small little fires that were set inside the home by the suspect, and they were there and they were able to get it under control,” Bradberry added that the smoke from those fires may have driven Doerscher to enter his garage and surrender to police.
Officers from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Dept. were able to take him into custody once he came out of the home. The entire afternoon Bradberry emphasized their goal to end the situation peacefully.
The main thing now, Bradberry says is to continue the investigation into what exactly happened. For now, Doerscher will remain under police custody for domestic battery and resisting arrest, however more charges could come during the investigation.
Doerscher does have a record of Operating While Intoxicated, False Informing, Illegal Possession, Consumption, Or Transportation of Alcohol from several years ago.