Thursday, July 18, 2013

Report of Armed Suicidal Man Closes Ferry Street, Disrupts Summer Nights Program

By Christina Georgiou

Numerous police vehicles and officers were called to the scene of a house
on the 1200 block of Ferry Street Thursday evening for a report of an
armed man who reportedly threatened to harm himself.
Reports of an armed man "tearing up" his house and fears that he was planning to commit suicide disrupted the city's Summer Nights program and had the entire 1200 block of Ferry Street shut down for nearly two hours this evening.

Police say they received a report shortly after 6 p.m. of a man at his residence on Ferry Street just west of Cherry Street armed with multiple firearms who threatened to harm himself. Numerous police officers, along with a car from the Northampton County Sheriff's office, an Easton EMS ambulance, and a few members of the Easton Fire Department were also called to the scene.

The man's wife exited the house safely but was worried he planned to commit suicide, authorities said.

Police said they attempted to communicate with the unidentified man, but were initially unsuccessful. Just as they called special response officers and were seen being about to deploy a robot with a camera, the man, barefoot and shirtless, peacefully surrendered.

The unidentified man surrended and was transported by
ambulance to a local hospital, as worried-looking family
members watch.
EPD officers quickly took him into custody, and, handcuffed, the man was put into a waiting ambulance.

"While we were setting up negotiations, he surrendered peacefully," EPD Captain Scott Casterline said, adding that the man did not appear to be intoxicated.

The man was transported to a local hospital for evaluation, Casterline said.

"At this point, he is not facing any criminal charges," Casterline said. He added that the unidentified resident does not appear to have a criminal record and the EPD has not had prior dealings with him nor have they been called to the address for anything similar before.

"He just had a bad day, I guess," Casterline said.

Police found firearms in the house, but they were all legally owned, police said. The exact number of weapons was not immediately available, but Casterline estimated there were between two and six involved in Thursday evening's incident.

Several neighboring residents were forced to wait behind police lines to reenter their homes during the incident. Those that were home at the time of the event were not evacuated. A number of Summer Nights program participants were delayed from leaving the scene until the conclusion because their cars were parked behind police barricade lines.

Casterline credited the neighborhood with making authorities' jobs easier, especially in the heat. Summer Nights program participants quickly cleared Centennial Park when police ordered them away for their safety, and the immediate neighbors of the man who was the center of the incident were helpful, he said.

"There was a high level of cooperation from the neighbors," he said.

And, at least some neighbors were grateful for the EPD's professionalism in handling the situation.

"I'm glad everything turned out good. I thought there was going to be a worse outcome," said Henry Rivera, who lives about a block away and said he's been a friend of the unidentified man for about eight years . "I'm glad it turned out peacefully."

He added, "A lot of people talk about the Easton Police Department, but I think they did a great job. They treated him gently. They even gave him a cigarette."

Ferry Street was reopened to traffic at about 8 p.m., and residents that had been prevented from accessing their homes were also let back in.

No one was physically injured during the event.

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