Family Held Hostage by Man with Butcher Knife

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 5, 2010 at 8:23 AM EDT

By Ginger Geoffery

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August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 5, 2010 at 8:23 AM EDT

PORTER, NY (WKBW) -- A family was held hostage in their home by a man with a butcher knife in Niagara county Tuesday morning, according to New York State Police. The homeowner is in the hospital in serious condition after police say the intruder stabbed him twice.

Investigators don't believe the suspect knew the family which consists of a husband, wife and two teenage daughters who were all home at the time of the home invasion. Police say the suspect showed up at the door of their home on Youngstown-Lockport Road in the Town of Porter around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday and asked to use the phone. It's not clear exactly what happened next once the man was inside but one of the teens apparently called 9-1-1. When officers showed up police say the man threatened to kill the family if the police did not leave. Police tried talking with the suspect, who is identified as Shawn Zimmerman, 30, of Newfane, but police say Zimmerman's actions forced them to go up to the second floor and get him.

"At one point we were communicating with the suspect via the window. He was standing at the window," says Capt. Craig Hanesworth, New York State Police Zone Commander, "At that point a struggled ensued and they were able to visually observe the struggle going on and they made the decision to enter the portion of the house where he was."

Officers arrested Zimmerman and charged him with burglary, possession of a weapon, and assault. Police tell Eyewitness News that Zimmerman was in prison for burglary until three months ago.

Police say the homeowner was stabbed once in the chest and once in the abdomen with a butcher knife, and his injuries are not considered life-threatening. His wife also suffered cuts on her hand. The daughters were not hurt.