TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Roads were closed, residents evacuated and others put in lockdown in the area of 163 Fries Road in the Town of Tonawanda, following a phone call to police from a woman at the home around 9:15 a.m. Monday.
"Saying that a male party there was going to kill her, that he had a gun, and then during the phone call, she said that he started the house on fire," said Lieutenant Nicholas Bado of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department.
Police arrived on scene to find the house in flames; however, the woman was able to escape. She identified the man as Joseph Hollywood, 60.
Bado said, "He's a person we've had contact with regularly, for a number of decades, now, a variety of incidents."
Following initial reports of shots fired, Bado said officers on scene heard what they believed to be shots coming from the home, and with Hollywood's location unknown, firefighters set up operations at safe locations for indirect fire control.
"We didn't want firefighters approaching the home due to the fact that they were putting themselves at risk of gunfire. Obviously, we all recall the Webster incident, near Rochester," said Bado.
Police set up a perimeter in the area, putting Ken-Ton schools into lockdown.
After multiple flash bangs, SWAT moved in.
"Obviously, there's a consideration for the fact that maybe he got out, prior to our patrols arrival," said Bado. "Likely scenario being that he either died as a result of the fire, if he remained in the home or he could have committed suicide with one of the firearms."
The lockdowns on both the neighborhood and the schools were lifted around 1 p.m. and firefighters were able to move in closer to the home to put out the fire.
Police said Hollywood's body was found in the basement of the home and investigators are working to determine the cause of death.