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January 2, 1998

Author: By Monica Scott of The Sentinel Staff

An armed Clermont man barricaded himself in his home Thursday, forcing the evacuation of 10 houses in the Greater Pines subdivision.

The lone man, believed to be Mark Christopher Guido, 42, temporarily held his wife hostage, but he released her shortly after deputies arrived at the home at 12748 Scottish Pine Lane about 12:40 p.

Initially, Lake County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Chris Daniels said deputies talking to the man were  “making progress.”

Late Thursday, however, he said:  “Things are at a standstill.”

Daniels wouldn’t say what tactics the Sheriff’s Office intended to use, but deputies appeared willing to wait out the distraught man Thursday night.

Authorities said Guido threatened to take his life or have the police do it for him.  He forbade anyone to approach the home, and he stepped outside occasionally to fire shots into the air.

Guido fired between three and five shots before officers arrived. Two shots that he fired after 2:30 p.m. prompted officers to evacuate part of the subdivision off State Road 50 just east of Clermont.

“Move out! Move out now! The guy’s shooting rounds like crazy,” sheriff’s Capt. Claude Gnann yelled at a group of residents gathered about a half-block from the house as he hurriedly pushed them farther back.

Deputies blocked the intersection of Scottish Pine Lane and Greater Pines Boulevard, two streets near the home.

Deputies said Guido had been drinking most of the night, and he became distraught and depressed Thursday morning.  They said he had been taking the antidepressant Prozac for three years. 

Officials wouldn’t say what specifically triggered Guido’s behavior.

The man’s wife stayed near parked patrol cars about five houses away from her home. She watched the proceedings with her two dogs, a black Labrador and a poodle mix, which her husband had allowed to leave the house when she did.

Deputies said they weren’t letting her talk with her husband directly because they didn’t want to provoke him.

Officers wouldn’t release much information – they said Guido implied that he wanted media coverage and they didn’t want to give it to him.

Few neighbors in the new section of the subdivision know each other. Most have lived there for less than two years.

Toni Johnson, who lives next door to the Guidos, said she was about to put a chicken into the oven for family members visiting from Louisiana when deputies told her to get out.

She said she has lived in her home for four weeks and did not know the Guidos well.

“He spoke but never really talked to us,” she said.

Late Thursday, about 25 emergency vehicles, including police, fire and ambulances, were still at the scene. The sheriff’s helicopter had hovered over the house much of the afternoon. The pilot and the helicopter were standing by in a field across the street.

Sheriff George Knupp arrived about 6 p.m. to direct the operation.

The sheriff’s SWAT team donned flak jackets and other gear and appeared ready to move.  However, the standoff continued late Thursday.