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Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies's cruisers, SWAT vehicles line the road at 208 Hedgewood Dr. in Red Bank.

Parents picking their children up from a bus stop at the corner of Hedgewood Drive and Goodson Avenue in Red Bank got more than they bargained for Thursday afternoon.

It could've been a scene from a movie -- a swarm of flashing blue lights punctuated by SWAT officers with shields and bulletproof vests.

Concerned parents, children and residents looked on as the drama surrounding Stephen Lindsey Rentzell, 47, of 208 Hedgewood Drive, unfolded. Rentzell's own father, Robert Rentzell, was among the swarm held back behind police lines.

Stephen Rentzell, who his father said is manic depressive and schizophrenic, apparently stopped taking his medication in the last few days and barricaded himself inside his home Thursday.

According to Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Janice Atkinson, a mental health official with Johnson Mental Health contacted the Red Bank Police Department at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon after speaking with Rentzell and requested a well-being check.

When they arrived, "he was uncooperative with the deputies, then he became belligerent and violent," Atkinson said.


In a news release, Atkinson said Rentzell encountered deputies in his yard and punched one of them in the face. Rentzell then ran back inside his home and refused to respond to law enforcement's requests.

Around 6 p.m., an all-black van with tinted windows joined the line of police vehicles. SWAT was called because it was unknown if Rentzell had weapons inside, the release stated.

SWAT officers surrounded the house. After officers broke in the door to Rentzell's home, they found him in the basement and took him into custody. He was transported by a Hamilton County EMS ambulance to Erlanger hospital for a mental health evaluation before being transported to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute.

Rentzell's father was upset with how the situation was handled. He said police told him to stay away from the house and wouldn't let him talk to his son. He guessed that all the commotion was alarming to his son.

"I'd be scared, wouldn't you be?" he said. "They were gonna knock the door down."

Atkinson said it is standard procedure for police to stabilize a scene before communicating with family members.

No weapons were found at the scene, according to the release, but criminal charges are pending. An investigation into the situation is ongoing.

Neighbors said Rentzell kept to himself but could often be seen walking along Hedgewood.

"He just walks down [to Dayton Boulevard], gets food, brings it back," neighbor Abigail Jacobs said. "He doesn't seem like he'd harm anybody."

Contact staff writer Will Healey at or 423-757-6731.