A 43-year-old Charlottetown man is in custody with no injuries after an armed standoff with Charlottetown police that lasted more than two hours Friday.
"It's another incident where mental health was a major factor," said Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell. "It's a real and ongoing problem, not just in our city but far beyond."
He said police got a call at 9:57 a.m. AT "about a man brandishing what appeared to be a handgun and long-edged weapon, described as a sword."
In the end, he said police believe the handgun was merely a pellet gun, but officers on the scene had no means of determining that at the time.
"We always err on the side of caution."
The suspect was contained inside his apartment at the corner of Euston and Upper Hillsborough Street for more than two hours, with other residents of that building and nearby homes removed as a precaution.
The rapid tactical deployment unit was on the scene, as well as the crisis negotiation team and a containment team.
Shortly before the man was taken into custody, reporters heard a loud bang. MacConnell later said police had deployed "a distraction device, so commonly known as a flash bang, just to disorientate the individual to make sure that he's less danger to the officers but also himself."
Soon afterward, the man left his apartment under his own power and was taken into custody.
"We'll be assessing what charges are applicable over the next hours," said MacConnell.
He also said police would search the residence to make sure there are no other weapons there.
Public alerted with a tweet
Police first alerted the public to the situation through a tweet at 10:46 a.m. AT, warning people to avoid the area of Euston and Weymouth streets west to Prince Street. They later posted that they were negotiating with an "armed barricaded male."
Asked whether police thought of issuing an emergency alert when the first call came in, MacConnell said the situation did not call for it, since any danger was considered contained to one floor of an apartment building. "We are cautious to not overuse them.... An emergency alert was not on the table for us."
He said police tried to provide displaced residents with water and other supplies because "there was no option for going back in at that point." The deputy chief said police appreciated their co-operation.
"What could have been an elongated incident with an impact to the city and the neighbourhood was brought to a conclusion fairly quickly," he added.
"Certainly, when weapons are involved, that certainly takes it to another level."
Neighbour describes police arrival
Sharon Larter, who owns a rental property on Euston Street, said she was going to check on the property at 10:30 a.m. AT when she encountered police vehicles.
"I saw a policeman with an automatic weapon pointing sort of towards the direction of my car, so I pulled up to my house and more police vehicles were arriving," said Larter.
"More cops were on scene and they started barricading off the street," she said, adding that she and her neighbours later heard yelling.
While the situation remained unresolved, drivers had to divert around the taped-off zone while travelling to and from the University Avenue area.
Barricades were removed from the area and all roads had reopened as of 1:20 p.m. AT.
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