Police surround downtown apartment during standoff

49-year-old man barricades himself, wife inside building

Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2009

A 49-year-old man barricaded himself and his wife inside a downtown apartment Wednesday afternoon, causing a long standoff with the Juneau Police Department.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The unidentified man refused to come out of his second-floor residence at the Channel View Apartments at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when officers attempted to serve him with a court order. The police were still negotiating with the man to surrender at press time.

About a dozen officers responded and secured the parking lot area off Gastineau Avenue.

As of press time, it was unknown if the man's wife was being kept in the apartment against her will, according to police spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills. It also was unknown whether alcohol or drugs were involved or if the man had any firearms, she said.

Shakira Vallejo, 27, said she saw police surrounding the apartment building, and sometime after 6 p.m. witnessed numerous officers maneuver as though they were about storm the building.

"We were just standing here, and all of a sudden they pulled out their guns and we heard 'click, click, click,'" she said, referring to officers cocking their weapons. "It was scary."

It was a false alarm.

At about 8:25 p.m., police sprung into action again, and several officers could be seen running up stairs on the side of the building as loud crashes and the sound of glass breaking could be heard.

Someone in the apartment apparently broke out some windows, Brown-Mills said.

The police were "trying to end it peacefully" and did not plan to breach the apartment as of press time, she said. It is unclear at this point what possible charges the unidentified man could face.

Meagan Willey, 21, came home from work and saw a number of emergency vehicles up the street from her home.

"This is crazy, man," she said shortly after the windows were broken out.

Brown-Mills said police standoffs are rare in Juneau. Wednesday's incident was the second standoff to happen in the three years she has been with the department.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or by e-mail at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.

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