MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. – The borough council president of a small Pittsburgh suburb was suffering from a "mental health crisis" when he threatened to detonate propane tanks and claimed to have "thousands of rounds" available to shoot police who responded to a domestic dispute, his attorney said Thursday.
Keith Schwab, 53, remained jailed and must now stand trial or cut a plea deal after waiving his preliminary hearing on charges including aggravated assault and terroristic threats stemming from the six-hour standoff at his McKees Rocks home on April 26.
Schwab's defense attorney, Jeffrey Wasak, contends Schwab's unprecedented behavior shows he was suffering from an unspecified mental issue.
"I mean, when you take a fellow that is 50-some years old and never had anything like this remotely occur in his life, it's pretty clear this was a mental health crisis," Wasak said.
"He's profoundly happy that nobody was hurt. This is a fellow that needs medical help," Wasak said. "He doesn't belong in jail, and I'm hoping to persuade a judge of that at a bond hearing next week so he can receive the medical treatment he's not receiving in jail."
McKeesport police said an argument between Schwab and his son escalated when Schwab grabbed a rifle and threatened officers who responded.
Schwab made other threats about the propane and bullets he claimed could pierce police protective vests when his wife and the police chief called trying to defuse the incident before his eventual surrender, police said.
"He takes great pride in his role in the community, and has lived there his entire life," Wasak said, adding Schwab would like to return to public service.
"But that can't be priority one, not today, not tomorrow," Wasak said.