Walla Walla Police officer Brent Barberich breaks glass away from a window at 125 West Maple Street to send in a camera on a pole to survey the interior of a house during a standoff Thursday afternoon September 20, 2012 in Walla Walla. Police breached the home, sent the camera in and then searched the house before coming out empty handed and sending medics in.
Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.
WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla police refused to comment on an apparent standoff at a residence that resulted in the closure of West Maple Street between Third and Fourth avenues starting at roughly noon today and ending about three hours later.
At about 2:50 p.m., officers entered the residence and medical personnel were on the scene. No official information was immediately available regarding the outcome.
Witnesses claimed they heard two gunshots, and stated there was possibly a suicidal, armed man barricaded in a house. Police cordoned off the block, and the Walla Walla County SWAT Team arrived at 1:44 p.m. At around 2 p.m., police attempted to contact someone via loudspeaker.
“Christopher, let us help you,” police broadcast via the speaker system. “Talk to us.”
Dispatchers stated there was no response via phone from the barricaded house.
Shortly before officers entered the residence, they approached beside the emergency services unit vehicle and behind protective gear. Then an officer fired a projectile at the residence, apparently to break windows.
After using remote equipment to examine the inside, officers entered the house. They exited a few minutes later and emergency medical staff went in. Shortly afterward, an officer spoke to a woman who was standing nearby and she collapsed in tears.
Mark Higgins of the Walla Walla School District arrived early to scout the block and plan after-school traffic.
Higgins said the school started safety procedures as soon as police informed them of the standoff.
“We went into a modified lockdown mode,” Higgins said, adding only one bus stop will be affected. “Now we’re mostly concerned with how we’re going to get kids home.”
Higgins said school district staff will be in position to direct any kids attempting to walk home through the area. Higgins also said parents will be notified to pick up any kids who would normally be dropped off at the Third and Maple bus stop.
“We’re trying to be proactive,” Higgins said.