City man gives self up after keeping police at bay for more than two hours
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- A city man who threatened to harm himself with a gun surrendered to authorities after a nearly 21⁄2-hour standoff Tuesday.
The incident ended without shots fired or injuries reported, but the man remains hospitalized and under observation, according to city police Sgt. Frank Myrtle.
Emergency dispatchers received a call at 11:05 a.m. about a 22-year-old man at 252 Shawnee Ave. who threatened to harm himself and possibly had access to firearms, Myrtle said. Authorities would not release the man's name because police have not charged him with any criminal offenses and continue to treat the matter as a medical issue, Myrtle added later that day. Authorities also recovered at least one firearm, but Myrtle would not say exactly how many or what kind they found.
Myrtle would not comment on whether police had an outstanding warrant for the man's arrest.
A man hospitalized under these circumstances typically will be examined by crisis care workers, followed by more treatment at another facility, Myrtle explained. Police also can seek a temporary detention order to keep the man in a hospital or other facility if needed, according to Myrtle.
"We received calls from a family member in reference to the welfare of an individual inside the residence," Myrtle told reporters after the incident. "Basically, there was some concern reference to him possibly harming himself. ... There was belief that he did have a firearm with him."
Family members were inside the home at the time the man began making threats, according to Myrtle. Authorities suspect alcohol may have been involved, Myrtle said.
"The members of the family were able to get out of the house without being harmed," Myrtle said, but added he did not know how many people had been in the home.
Police began evacuating residents from neighboring homes, Myrtle said. Officers blocked off Shawnee Avenue as well as Leicester Street near the residence.
Members of the city police crisis negotiation and SWAT teams assisted. The agency also received help from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and a state police SWAT team.
The Warren County Sheriff's Office responded with its armored vehicle. A crew from the South End Fire and Rescue Station also stood by in case needed.
Some residents driving down Parkway Street saw that police had blocked Leicester Street and indicated that they lived in the area. At least one bus driver with Winchester Public Schools could not drop off pupils on a road blocked off during the incident. School district Executive Director Kevin McKew came to the scene to assist the bus driver.
A mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service arrived to find part of his route blocked. Police escorted him through and let him deliver to some residences.
"They told me where I could go and where I could not go, OK, so I complied and, yes, they have been helpful," said Steve Harron. "People probably won't get their mail delivered today but I'm sure they understand why. I mean, if they clear it up quick enough I'll come back out and deliver it if they want me to."
Regina Blowe, a friend of the man's family, said she received a call from his mother, who asked her to come to the house. Blowe, 34, stood outside the blocked area waiting to be escorted closer to the home, and expressed surprise about situation.
At about 1:30 p.m. the man came out of the residence and police took him to Winchester Medical Center for a psychological evaluation, Myrtle said. Officers checked the home for other occupants, then searched for firearms. Family and friends then were allowed back into the home shortly before 2 p.m.