Tori Sutton, Stratford Gazette
A four-hour standoff ended peacefully after police stormed an Ontario Street residence early Wednesday morning.
The 38-year-old man barricaded in the home was taken into custody and transported to hospital for a mental health assessment and treatment of superficial wounds.
The ordeal started shortly after 9 p.m., when police were called to a report of a man threatening to harm himself at a home just east of Nile Street.
“Officers attended and were confronted with a male who was refusing to co-operate, who was obviously agitated and acting irrationally, and was threatening to harm himself and the responding officers,” said Stratford police Chief John Bates. “We decided to lock down the scene and contact our emergency response unit members.”
Ontario Street was closed to traffic from Nile to Front streets. As police attempted to negotiate with the man a large crowd of over 200 curious onlookers gathered.
The suspect — who police were calling “Eddie” — hurled expletives and urged police to shoot him. At one point, seemingly irritated by police flashlights, he broke the glass of a second storey window where he was standing.
After hours of heated exchanges with police, the suspect fell quiet.
Police evacuated bystanders on the north side of Ontario Street before entering the residence to make the arrest at 1:30 a.m.
The suspect was taken immediately to a waiting ambulance.
“We tried for a long, long time to establish negotiations with the individual, which were somewhat unsuccessful,” said Bates, at the scene after the arrest. “As that progressed windows were being smashed and debris was being thrown out of the residence.
“Eventually members of the emergency response unit moved into the house, established face-to-face contact and successfully took the person into custody.”
Bates confirmed “edged weapons” were found in the house but could not elaborate further. There were no other injuries.
A helicopter that flew over in the middle of the standoff had nothing to do with the operation and was a coincidence, said Bates, who also denied rumours the suspect was involved in a robbery at a local jewelry store Monday evening.
“I have no information about that whatsoever,” he said.
The chief thanked the Stratford Fire Department for its assistance in traffic and crowd control.
He also lauded his officers for a job well done.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Bates said. “Our members performed as they are trained to do … they performed exceptionally well.”