Standoff in Jessup Forces Neighbors from Homes

JESSUP, Pa. -- A stand-off with police forced neighbors to leave their homes. Now, the wife of the suspect speaks out on his troubled past.

Jessup police called in Lackawanna County's SWAT team Friday night to help them when an attempt to arrest a man who stalked and threatened his ex-boss turned into a standoff.

It ended peacefully, but the man's wife says he has a history of violent threats and dangerous behavior.

Jessup police and Lackawanna County's SWAT team talked with Frank Ball using a megaphone to try to get through to him as he was inside a home on Cherry Street.

Police say they went to the home to arrest him Friday night after he allegedly threatened to kill a woman who fired him from his job in Scranton two weeks ago.

"First, they had the local police here, and then, they had a SWAT team come, so things were really escalating at that point," said neighbor Maria Ceccacci.

The stand-off lasted late into the night. Police stayed cautious and told neighbors to leave their homes.

"10-10:30 they asked us to leave. We had to evacuate the home which we did, and we thought we were just going to spend a few minutes up the street, but it ended up spending four, four and a half hours out there," said neighbor Bruce Ceccacci.

Police say Ball ended the standoff after midnight and surrendered. He's now in jail.

All that remains at the scene are a few broken windows and what appears to be a note from Ball taped to a window to communicate with police.

Newswatch 16 spoke with Ball's estranged wife who used to share the home with him on Cherry Street. She stopped by the neighborhood after hearing about the standoff to make sure neighbors were OK.

"I feel bad that these people were put through this because they're really good people, and like I said, some of them are my friends still," said Mary Ellen Ball.

Court records show Frank Ball spent much of 2016 and 2017 in jail after he was convicted of stalking women and threatening police officers using social media. Ball once posted pictures of himself posing with a rifle on social media.

"That's his what you call an M.O. That's what he was in trouble for before, numerous times, numerous women, I have lost count," Ball added.

Mary Ellen Ball says she feared for her own life when she live with Frank Ball. She hopes her husband can get the help he needs.

"He's mentally unstable in my eyes. He needs help, but the kind of help he needs needs to be a corrective criminal psych ward, something like that, because something snapped."

She's thankful no one was hurt during the standoff.