Bucks standoff ends without injury - except to a robot

Posted: May 25, 2013

After a daylong standoff, police persuaded a Bucks County man who had barricaded himself in his house to come out - but not, they said, before he allegedly tried to disable a SWAT team robot with a stick.

The confrontation began about 11:40 a.m. Friday when Bedminster police received a call about a possibly suicidal man from one of his relatives. The caller told police the 52-year-old man, whose name police did not release, had recently bought a shotgun.

When police arrived at the Wigton Circle apartment where the man lives with a roommate, they could hear him screaming, Sgt. Brian Pfaff said. When they asked him to come out of the apartment, he refused, Pfaff said.

"He essentially said there is no way he is coming out to us, after multiple requests," Pfaff said.

Police instead called an emergency response team, and a standoff began that stretched throughout the day.

Police were concerned the man had access to his shotgun, as well as to two handguns registered to his roommate, Pfaff said. Over the course of the day, the man told police several times he planned to surrender, only to reverse course and again refuse to leave the apartment, Pfaff said.

Eventually, a tactical team sent in a robot to survey the apartment. Although initial reports from police indicated the man may have beaten the robot with a stick, Pfaff said it was not clear what the man did to it. He had, Pfaff said, used "a stick or something" to "possibly disable" the robot.

About 5:30 p.m., Pfaff said, the man finally surrendered to police, unarmed. The shotgun he had bought was not in the apartment, Pfaff said, and police were still trying to determine whether his roommate's two handguns were inside.

The man was taken to a local hospital for mental-health evaluation and no charges had been filed against him.

"We'll have to see how bad he beat the robot," Pfaff said.


Contact Aubrey Whelan at 610-313-8112, awhelan@philly.com, or on Twitter at @aubreyjwhelan.

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