MEDICINE HAT, AB – It was a harrowing start to the week for Nicole Duncan and other residents living along Cuyler Road SE on Monday morning.
A lengthy standoff taking place inside a condo complex between Medicine Hat Police and a 38-year-old man accused of uttering threats while possessing a firearm.
Hearing from police around 2:30 am, Duncan and her three children were told to head to the basement and avoid windows.
“I just kind of put my head down and made sure that my kids were okay,” said Duncan. “And, then the SWAT team backed off, and then that was it for a little bit.”
S/Sgt. Chad Holt with Medicine Hat Police Major Crimes said while the suspect was producing a gun, they were able to evacuate a woman from the scene.
“They evacuated out of the residence with this female and began negotiations with the male, trying to get him to surrender the firearm and turn himself in.”
Police shut down the entirety of Cuyler Road, not allowing anyone near the scene while the standoff was going on.
Just before 11:00 am, police were finally able to break windows and deploy tear gas, arresting the suspect shortly after outside of the apartment.
Holt said it was the best possible ending to a tense few hours, safely bringing the suspect into custody.
“The male came out immediately and was taken into police custody with no injuries, no further incident,” said Holt. “So, that was the positive outcome that we were hoping for.”
The suspect, who does have a criminal background, now faces charges of uttering threats, criminal harassment, and various firearms offences.
Spending most of the morning fearing for the safety of her children, Duncan said it was a frightening few hours to say the least.
“Who knows what this person is going to do?” she said. “I was directly across from his main window, and that was serious. If he didn't know where he was shooting, then what if he shot through my window.”
With temperatures reaching close to minus 40 degrees overnight Monday, Patterson Armoury was used as an emergency shelter for evacuated residents.
Lasting well over eight hours, Holt added it’s one of the longest armed standoffs they’ve been called to in recent memory.
“We don't always have people that are cooperative when they are being arrested or have allegations of charges against them,” he said. “However, it is unusual to go this long.”
While relieved that the incident ended peacefully, Duncan said her family is still shaken up.
“It was super scary, not for me but for what's going to happen to my little ones, that was the biggest thing,” she said. “I just wanted to be able to take them, suit them up, jump in my truck, and get out of here.”
The unidentified suspect is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday morning for a bail hearing.
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