MONTVILLE TWP. — The actions of a young victim of an attempted sexual assault that started with an daring escape from her Stockbridge Drive home early Sunday morning helped to put an end to a dangerous situation.
According to Montville police, the 17-year-old girl ran roughly a half- mile to McDonald’s on Wooster Pike after Shawn Guillereault, her mother’s boyfriend of seven years, attempted to sexually assault her and admitted to shooting her mom, Rachel Azbell.
That escape, followed by a 911 call from restaurant employees just before 1 a.m. Sunday as they drove the teen to Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital, led police to 4777 Stockbridge Drive, the site of a murder-suicide that ended after a three-hour standoff with the Medina County SWAT Team.
When residents of that quiet neighborhood received a reverse 911 call giving scant details of the situation unfolding at the house but with instructions to take cover, few understood the full scope of what had and was going to happen.
A detailed press conference Monday at the Montville Police Department answered many of questions, provided details of the tragic night and walked reporters through a timeline of events that ended with the loss of two lives.
“Rachel sustained a single gunshot wound to the right temple, almost execution-style,” said Medina County Coroner Dr. Lisa Deranek.
“The gun was, we think, at an angle and the bullet lodge in a lower part of her brain just above the primitive part of your brain, which keeps your heart rate alive, your breathing, and your blood pressure. At this time, she is in the hospital on life support.”
Deranek said Rachel’s injury is fatal and she is “brain dead.”
Medina County Coroner Dr. Lisa Deranek discusses the injuries that Rachel Azbell received during an incident Sunday at the Stockbridge Drive home she shared with her boyfriend. Shawn Guillereault admitted to shooting his girlfriend, Rachel Azbell, on a 911 call.
ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE Enlarge
She is an organ donor and will be giving organs to those who can use them, according to Deranek.
Chilling phone calls
The first 911 call Montville police received Sunday morning that let them know something serious was unfolding on Stockbridge Drive came from a confused young woman who just finished her shift at the McDonald’s on Wooster Pike.
She said she was walking to her car when a naked woman (the person was later identified as a teenage girl) appeared and said she needed help because someone tried to rape her.
The caller said she panicked, not knowing what to do she decided to put the female in the car and drive her to Medina Hospital. The 911 call received at 12:43 a.m. was made en route to the hospital.
Montville Police Chief Terry Grice describes with a map how far a 17-year-old girl ran to get help from employees at a nearby McDonald’s Shawn Guillereault, her mother’s boyfriend of seven years, reportedly attempted to sexually assault her and admitted to shooting her mom, Rachel Azbell, on a 911 call.
ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE Enlarge
Minutes later, Montville police said a second call was received at 1:01 a.m. from Shawn Guillereault inside his home. He told a dispatcher he had shot his girlfriend in the head, but she was still alive. They were in the home’s attached garage. He begged the dispatcher to send help.
“She’s still fighting, she’s still fighting,” Guillereault said during the call.
“I’m going to go to jail though, I did this.”
The 911 dispatcher tried to get the 44-year-old man to leave the garage with his hands up but he said he would not leave Azbell’s side. He said he was holding a cloth against her head to help with the bleeding.
“She’s alive. I have children in the house. Come help her,” said Guillereault.
The first set of officers arrived at the home at 1:04 a.m.
In a dash camera video provided by police, an officer can be seen running toward the home with a shotgun. Officers said they immediately engaged Guillereault, screaming at him to put his hands up and surrender.
On a recording of the 911 call, Guillereault can be heard yelling, “Shoot me! Shoot me!” as officers yell at him to put his hands up.
Guillereault then went back into the house.
By 1:07 a.m., Montville police called for Medina County SWAT.
Standoff with possible hostages
Once Guillereault ran back into the home, retreating through a door that led to the home’s kitchen, Montville police Chief Terry Grice said officers made a tactical decision to leave the house with Azbell still on the garage floor.
They also worried, he said, that other victims were in the home.
The teen who escaped told officers that there were two other youths in the home, ages 12 and 15.
“I think it’s important to note that, as the officers arrived, they already have the knowledge that someone has already been shot so a weapon has already been discharged in the home and there’s some danger because there’s allegedly other juveniles in that home,” said Montville police Lt. Matthew Neil.
At 1:43 a.m., SWAT officers confirmed the location in the home of the other children, who by this time had called their biological mother after hearing screams and a gunshot, and set up a plan to rescue them from the home.
Grice said the children had barricaded themselves in a room toward the rear of the home.
At 2:41 a.m., using a ladder put up against a rear window, the children are rescued and immediately placed inside a SWAT vehicle parked near the home.
The younger children are Guillereault’s biological children. They will be staying with their biological mother, Grice said.
Grice said once there were signs Azbell was still alive; she was rescued as well with SWAT officers entering the garage at 2:52 a.m.
SWAT robot deployed
Once Guillereault’s children and girlfriend were rescued from the home, Grice said the SWAT team sent a robot into the house to check for Guillereault’s location.
He was found in the basement, dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Deranek said he aimed a shotgun at his forehead and pulled the trigger. He died instantly.
Grice said the department doesn’t know what sparked the argument between the couple. He said it is believed the shooting of Azbell happened before Guillereault entered the teen’s bedroom as he told her, “I just shot your mother,” and he still had the handgun in his hand when he went into the room.
According to Grice, one of the youths rescued from the home had indicated that they had gone bowling on Saturday evening and felt that Guillereault may have been intoxicated.
Guillereault was found dead with a pocket full of ammunition and several loaded guns placed throughout the home.
According to police, this wasn’t the first time they had responded to the home. A domestic situation occurred in December, but a report was not filed. In addition, Montville police investigated a sexual imposition case involving one of Azbell’s older daughters and Guillereault. No charges were filed in that case.
Susan Todaro, who lived across the street, said she had little contact with Guillereault and Azbell.
“I personally have never spoken to him, just a wave,” Todaro said Sunday. “When she moved in, that’s when he started doing nice things to the house.
“I was here all day (Saturday) just cleaning the house and they were just mowing the lawn, edging, got the mail. I didn’t notice anything different,” Todaro said.
On Monday, neighbors praised Montville police and Medina SWAT officers for how they handled the situation.
“It was very scary,” said Sheri Breeden, a neighbor. “The police department did an excellent job. The SWAT team came and told us to go into our basement.”
Many residents in the neighborhood got a reverse 911 call letting them know what was happening and several residents were told to hide in their basements until the incident was under control.
“My daughter was her by herself,” said Rose Guta, who lives across the street. “The Montville Township police did a wonderful job. They got a hold of me, made sure my daughter got to the basement so she was safe. Nothing but great praise for them.”