Following an overnight standoff with authorities at the Econo Lodge at the I-71/U.S. 35 intersection in Fayette County, a man wanted for murder in Hocking County attempted to take his own life Monday morning inside of the motel room by shooting himself in the head.
According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Michael Napoli’s white van was spotted by an Econo Lodge housekeeper in the back lot of the motel Sunday evening. “When (the motel employee) got home, she double-checked the news reports about the shooting and remembered that she saw the van,” said Stanforth. “She called the motel and checked with the night clerk to see if the van was still there and if the license plate number they were giving on the news reports was the same as the license plate number of the van in the motel parking lot.”
After confirming the number, the motel employee dialed Fayette County 911 at 11:37 p.m., according to reports. FCSO deputies came to the Econo Lodge, located at 9060 W. Lancaster Road, and confirmed that it was the correct vehicle.
Deputies and investigators were able to evacuate the motel at around midnight, and then set up a perimeter outside of Room 231 at the back of the motel, where Napoli was staying.
Sometime during the night, Napoli reportedly came outside of his room but quickly turned around and went back inside. “We believe that he saw us and that’s what caused him to go back in the room,” said Stanforth.
Just before 4 a.m., Napoli called 911 and wanted to speak with a negotiator. A trained FCSO negotiator spoke with Napoli several times, but it became apparent that Napoli wasn’t going to come out of the room willingly.
“He made several comments that reflected a gradual change in his mental state,” said Stanforth. “He made no demands. But it became apparent that we were going to have to go in. As it was starting to get lighter outside, our protective covering was becoming compromised as well.”
At around 6 a.m. when he still refused to come out, deputies tried to force entry into the room. According to Stanforth, Napoli had barricaded himself into the room by pushing mattresses up against the window and furniture against the door.
“We had to literally break the door off of its hinges to gain entry,” said Stanforth. “We knew he was armed.”
Deputies also tried to use tear gas to force Napoli out of the room.
When deputies gained entry, Napoli was sitting in a chair and had already shot himself in the head. Medics treated him at the scene and he was transferred to the Jamestown Emergency Room. Shortly after, he was flown by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital for further treatment. His injuries were considered life-threatening.
“We don’t know when he actually shot himself,” said Stanforth. “We didn’t hear a gunshot.”
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the scene at the Econo Lodge for several hours after the shooting.
Napoli, 33, of Westerville, originally fled from Hocking County on Saturday after allegedly shooting ex-wife Kimberly Napoli and fatally shooting her friend, James Robert Boergers Jr., at Wildwoods Backwood Retreats Cabins on Route 678.