Seffernick sentenced to 15 years after police standoff

May 16—LIMA — A Lima man who engaged in a 16-hour standoff with police last summer and shot at officers received a 15-year prison sentence Thursday.

Mark Seffernick, 60, of Lima, shot at the officers from inside his East Albert Street home in August 2023.

Before the sentence was announced, Seffernick's attorney, Scott Kelly, said, "It's very clear that mental health was what the driving force was behind his behavior that day."

Kelly confirmed Seffernick's statement of what he thought was happening at the time of the standoff that has been discussed throughout court proceedings was not consistent with what was actually happening.

"That goes to show my client wasn't thinking rationally when he chose the actions that he did that day," Kelly said. "He said he was scared, frightened, he thought he was fighting for his life."

Kelly said Seffernick had some life-changing events happen before the standoff, with the death of two family members and losing his job. Seffernick also didn't feel he received the mental health help he needed from an area hospital. Seffernick is currently on medication. Kelly mentioned his only criminal record included three charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, with the most recent one being in 2014, and Seffernick hasn't consumed alcohol since.

"All I saw was a shadow out of the corner of my eye, and I ran into my house. I did not see the police cars until I fired a warning shot inside my house," Seffernick said when he was invited to speak. "All I wanted was to be left alone."

Seffernick confirmed he shot four times. Judge Jeffrey Reed asked Seffernick if he said he wasn't going to hand over his gun alive, and Seffernick couldn't confirm or deny he did.

Over a dozen family members and friends of Seffernick's attended his sentencing to show support and read statements, including his children.

"When most of you learned who my father is, it was at his lowest, worn out and mentally compromised that my father has ever been," his son, Thomas, said. "Now my father will be locked away in a place that I'm afraid he won't be able to get the help that he needs. I don't think my father should spend any more time in prison than what is absolutely necessary, because my father needs help. Please do not delay my father's treatment any more than what is needed."

Seffernick pleaded guilty last month to five counts of felonious assault for discharging a firearm at law enforcement officers during a standoff with police in August 2023. Prosecutors dismissed eight remaining counts.

Prosecutors said Seffernick held police at bay for hours last summer while barricaded inside his home at 1008 E. Albert St. Police were dispatched to the scene after receiving a call about a man threatening another with a gun. When officers arrived, Seffernick retreated into the house and barricaded the front door.

During the overnight hours, gunshots were fired from the residence at police on several occasions. None of those shots led to injuries.

A SWAT team from the Allen County Sheriff's Office was dispatched and attempted, without success, to force open the door to the residence. A telephone link between Seffernick and detectives was established, and another individual who was in the home with Seffernick left the residence unarmed.

The incident finally ended nearly 16 hours after it began, when Seffernick emerged voluntarily and surrendered to police.

The five felonious assault charges against Seffernick represented each of the five police officers who were at the scene. As explained by Reed, Seffernick must serve a mandatory 12 years in prison, then will be eligible for judicial release six months after.

Reach Charlotte Caldwell at 567-242-0451.