A tense standoff between a man with a rifle and police ended peacefully Thursday afternoon after a negotiator convinced him to come out of his house and surrender.
Police were notified at around 2 p.m. that a man inside a two-family house at 4 Hillside Pl. had a gun and intended to kill himself. Based on police broadcasts, it seems the man's girlfriend called police to report he was distraught because she told him their relationship was ending.
The police response quickly ramped after dispatchers contacted the man by phone and he threatened to shoot anyone he saw, according to the broadcasts.
The man said he would fire a warning shot, and officers said by radio they heard a shot fired.
The house is next door to Benjamin Franklin school, and patrol supervisor Lt. James Walsh ordered dispatchers to contact officials there and lock it own. The school is used by Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now for early education programs and after-school programs.
Walsh also ordered the city to use a system that could contact every phone number in the neighborhood and advise occupants they should evacuate their homes or remain inside.
The incident prompted the call-up of Emergency Services officers, who respond to situations like this wearing body armor and carrying automatic rifles.
Surrounding streets were blocked off, resulting in traffic delays and groups of residents standing at street corners wondering why their neighborhood was suddently swarming with police.
Broadcasts indicated tactical positioning of officers was directed by Walsh and Lt. Thomas Mattera, commander of the department's Special Services Unit. Emergency Services is led by Lt. Brian Cunningham, who also participated in Thursday's incident.
The standoff was brought to a peaceful conclusion by negotiator Lt. Shawn Wong Won, who convinced the man to exit his house unarmed and lay down in the driveway. The man was taken to Norwalk Hospital.
Mattera broadcast he was in custody at 3:17 p.m.
Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said the man would be charged, but of more importance, his underlying mental health problems would be evaulated. Kulhawik said he understood the man is 24 years old, but didn't know his name.
Kulhawik pointed out the number of officers who responded to the call on their own initiative, including those assigned administrative positions in headquarters.
Editor's note: This article originally was published by Norwalk Patch.