Man Fends Off Police From Hotel


A guest at the Days Inn hotel in Payson holed up in his room Monday and kept police at bay for nearly two hours after he threw a luggage rack at the hotel manager and threatened to kill a maintenance worker.

Payson Police officers evacuated a block of 10 rooms around room 108 -- the room 32-year-old Robin Edward Staver of Payson had been checked into for 10 days -- and called Staver from the hotel office.

It took a police negotiator half an hour to convince Staver to peacefully come out and give himself up.

"He needed somebody to talk to and somebody to listen," said the undercover officer who negotiated Staver's surrender. "I basically just listened."

The events leading up to the standoff between Staver and the police began shortly before 8 a.m. when Days Inn Manager Bobby Patel walked past the open door to Staver's room.

Staver picked up the room's luggage rack and flung it at Patel, Police Lt. Don Engler said.

Patel left to call police.

Staver climbed out the back window of his ground-floor room and confronted hotel maintenance worker Roger Ellquist near the hotel parking lot, Engler said.

"He jumped out the window and was coming at me cursing and swearing at me like a crazy idiot -- a raging bull," Ellquist said Monday afternoon.

"Staver jerked the man's glasses off his face and threw them on a car (in the parking lot)," Engler said. "He pushed the man and threatened to kill him, and then he jumped back through the window and shut it."

Staver, who officers thought might be armed, stayed locked in his room until he agreed to come out shortly before 10 a.m.

"He said that if the police came to get him he was going to use deadly force against them," Engler said. "He actually used those words, which we thought was a little strange."

No weapons found

Officers later searched Staver's room and car, but didn't find any weapons, Engler said. Staver had, however, pulled the mirror, smoke detector and towel rack off the walls of his room and caused other damage, the lieutenant said.

"We don't know for sure what precipitated the events today," Engler said Monday. "He did seem to be displaying signs of paranoia."

Officers had a run in with Staver three days earlier at the mid-town Texaco station, where Staver reportedly got into a verbal argument with another customer, Engler said. He wasn't arrested, but his behavior worried officers.

"He was displaying the same symptoms he was displaying today," Engler said.

Staver was arrested on two counts of misdemeanor assault, one count of felony criminal damage, one count of disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana. He is being held in the Gila County Jail in Payson in lieu of $5,000 bond. Staver has been referred to Rim Guidance for a psychiatric exam, Engler said.

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