Teen's quick-thinking may have saved her life during standoff

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ELLSWORTH, Pa. - Neighbors were in lockdown while police and SWAT officers swarmed their neighborhood in Ellsworth, Washington County, last week.  A teenage girl was inside the home with the suspect, and Channel 11 has learned it was her quick-thinking that saved her life.

The standoff on Oak Street lasted more than 18-hours.

Every window in the home and former nunnery was shot out.  Chunks of bricks were shot out too.

Police said Joe Cunningham was holding a 15-year-old girl, his ex-wife's daughter, hostage.  Her mother's new boyfriend was also being held hostage before he was able to jump from a window to safety, police said.

Sources said as troopers shot tear gases in one room, the suspect would move on to the next. 

According to the criminal complaint, Cunningham was "upset because he was told that he was not going to be allowed to see his children anymore."

Guns were pulled, police said.

According to police, Cunningham's gun failed to fire, the boyfriend's gun failed to fire and then  both began firing at each other.  Cunningham was shot in the arm.

Police said the teen was able to escape when Cunningham grabbed a beer and set a shotgun and revolver in the corner of the room.

Cunningham faces several charges, including making terroristic threats and assault.