WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A standoff on South Meadow Street in Watertown ended peacefully Thursday morning and a man who was barricaded inside a home there was taken away by police shortly before 8 a.m.
Watertown police Detective Lt. Joe Donoghue says the man was taken to Samaritan Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.
His identity has not been released.
The standoff began early in the morning with what Donoghue says was a domestic incident. The man broke several windows by throwing things onto the lawn and street before barricading himself in a stairway on the 116 side of 116-118 South Meadow.
“At 3:20, a woman called from the residence that one of her relatives had arrived there,” said Donoghue, “and, initially, she was complaining that he was stealing some items, but then the problems escalated and he was threatening people inside, possibly to burn the house, and she was able to get her other children out, contacted the police, and we responded.”
Donoghue said the man doesn’t live in the home.
At least two children were removed before the standoff began.
The neighbors at 118 South Meadow were evacuated to across the street after the man allegedly threatened to light the building on fire. They said a banging noise woke them up.
Donoghue said at one point, the man displayed a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun.
The situation lasted for more than four hours before police talked the man out.
The 100 block was closed to traffic for several hours, but is now open.
There was a large police presence that included both city police and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies, some of whom were heavily armed and in SWAT-style gear.
This comes less than a day after an incident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where six police officers were shot. Donoghue says it was likely on the minds of many of the responders in Watertown.
“It’s at the back of the officer’s heads, but we cant dwell on it, because it takes us away from our job,” said Donoghue.
Another thing on the minds of responders; the string of false alarm reports Watertown Police have been dealing with.
Donoghue says this call, however, was clearly different.
“Really quickly realized this was a legitimate call, caused concern, and we reacted and responded towards it,” he said.
The man was taken out of the home without handcuffs, seemingly a calm conclusion to a stressful situation.
“That’s the way we like to be able to do things,” said Donoghue, “every one of these situations there’s no cookie cutter way of doing it, so the officers were able to respond the way they did based on his actions when he actually was surrendering himself.”
The uncle of the man tells 7 News he came to his mother’s house unexpectedly, upset over a girlfriend situation.
The man also had a bench warrant against him from prior charges and police speculate that was likely another cause for his behavior.
Donoghue said the man could be charged with criminal mischief.