Distraught man arrested after long standoff in downtown Nelson
Nelson police, supported by officers from local RCMP officers and with assistance from the Nelson Fire Department, arrested a suicidal 31-year-old man who had been barricaded inside an apartment in the Medical Arts Building on Ward Street late Tuesday evening following a six-hours-long standoff.
Police closed the 400 block of Ward Street outside the Hume Hotel shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a call that suicidal male who had barricaded himself in his estranged girlfriend’s downtown residence.
The former girlfriend had succeeded in escaping from the apartment and alerted police of the male’s intention to kill himself or be killed by police.
Members of the Nelson Police Department responded along with Nelson RCMP officers and Nelson Fire Department.
“Police investigators determined that by being in company of the female victim, the man was in violation of a no contact order that had been issued subsequent to a domestic assault,” said NPD Sergeant Dino Falcone in a media release.
Falcone said police located, contained and isolated the male in the woman’s apartment and a lockdown and a six-hour standoff and negotiation process ensued.
“The suspect repeatedly made verbal threats to kill himself either by self-mutilation, by jumping from a window or by having the police shoot him,” Falcone said.
Falcone said the suspect was armed with several weapons including a large meat cleaver. The negotiating team began dialogue with the man from the hallway outside the apartment door.
“During tense negotiations with the police, the suspect continually threw furniture around and eventually destroyed or damaged all of the apartment’s contents,” Falcone said.
Power to the apartment building, which also affected businesses on 500 Block of Baker Street, was cut off by Nelson Hydro crews to help police with the negotiations.
Hours into the negotiations, police used NFD ladder truck to raise two officers to a window outside the apartment overlooking the alley next to Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History.
Several times during the standoff the man threatened police inside the ladder truck bucket and on the ground, even going so far as to dangle his feet outside the four-story window while sitting on the ledge.
Late into the night, shortly after 11 p.m., police members ultimately made entry after the suspect had surrendered the meat cleaver and had partially cleared the front doorway, which had been heavily barricaded with furniture.
“As police began to enter the apartment the suspect suddenly decided to launch himself out of a window and police were very fortunate in being able to grab the man’s arms and upper torso, before he fell to the ground; eventually hauling him back into the dwelling,” Falcone said.
Falcone said the suspect was apprehended under the Mental Health Act. Police are also recommending charges of Mischief over $5000 dollars, Failure to Comply with an Undertaking, and Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose.
Falcone said Nelson Police Department would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the immediate and professional response and support rendered by the Nelson Fire and Rescue Services, the Nelson RCMP, the BC Ambulance Service, Nelson Hydro and the general public who were negatively affected during the span of this encounter.