Local police, fire officials and a regional SWAT team were at a Forest Road residence in Coventry, CT mid-day Tuesday (Aug. 14) in response to a call about a 69year-old man who had barricaded himself inside the house.
The call, which police say came in at 10:53 a.m., said the man was despondent and threatening to harm himself.
The Capital Region Emergency Services Team (CREST), a regional SWAT team, was called in.
Coventry Police Chief Mark Palmer said the man wouldn’t return phone calls to the home.
The SWAT team used a fourwheel tactical robot to enter the home while parking their truck near the home. The robot found the man, who had died from a self- inflicted gunshot wound.
A temporary police headquarters was set up a half mile from the home at the G. H. Robertson Intermediate School.
Team members met at the school, geared up and proceeded to the home with a large, black SWAT truck.
Emergency personnel set up a perimeter around the house that blocked off Forest Road at the Corner Store of Coventry on South Street to Bissell Road off Cross Street.
Neighbors were asked to evacuate their homes as a precautionary measure.
During the incident, the man’s wife was seen at the school being comforted by Corner Store of Coventry co-owner Debra Arnold and police.
The standoff was over just before 1:30 p.m.
The man’s wife was overcome by emotion after she heard the news. Echoes of sobbing were heard across the school’s property.
Arnold, shaken by the events, said she was glad she was there to help. “It was a sad day in the neighborhood yesterday,” Arnold said today. “We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family.
“We know how scary it was for everyone and we are glad that we could be supportive to our friends, neighbors, police and fire departments.”
Tonya Groves, also a co-owner of the Corner Store, gave emergency crews a case of water during the standoff. “Anything we can do to help out,” she said.
Chief Palmer said there were weapons registered to the home, and measures were taken to ensure everyone was safe.
Chief Palmer said this morning there is no ongoing investigation. He couldn’t comment on the cause of the suicide or if the home had a previous history of violence.
He called the incident “rare” for the town.
Acting Town Manager and Finance Director Beth Bauer said she was updated on the situation and was in contact with Town Manager John Elsesser, who is currently on vacation.
Neighbor James Napolitano, who had been asked to leave his home Tuesday, said he talked to the man “all the time.”
“We were friendly,” Napolitano said. “There was nothing out of the ordinary.”
Napolitano wasn’t told why he had to leave his home, so he went to the Corner Store of Coventry to “wait it out.”
“I didn’t know it was going to turn into this,” he said.
Palmer said he gave the CREST team a briefing of the situation before they arrived. “They make the decision on the assets needed and the number of people required,” Palmer said.
The street was reopened after the SWAT team left.
Formed in 1999, the team consists of members from the Vernon, South Windsor, Manchester, Glastonbury, Enfield, Coventry and Rocky Hill Police Departments.
The CREST team gets involved with incidents such as: barricaded suspects/subjects, hostage situations, high-risk arrests, high- risk search warrants, protective details and active violence incidents.
Posted August 15, 2012
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