Standoff ends outside Mobile Government Plaza; police say gunman shot himself
UPDATE: 6:40 p.m. According to Mobile Police Department, the suspect in today’s standoff has died.
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The hours-long armed standoff in downtown Mobile ended during the 3 o’clock hour Monday afternoon. The man who police say threatened to shoot himself and fired shots at officers outside Mobile Government Plaza was loaded onto a stretcher and put into an ambulance.
MPD Chief Paul Prine said the man shot himself. He was taken by ambulance to University Hospital. His condition was unclear.
This was after an armored police vehicle rammed the suspect car and pinned it into place against a pole. Police fired several rounds of teargas at the car, as the man spun the car’s wheels attempting to leave the scene.
Moments later, the man was pulled from the car and responders immediately started CPR on the sidewalk.
Leading up to 3 p.m., gunshots were heard at the scene of the standoff that began five hours earlier. James Barber, chief of staff for the mayor’s office, told FOX10 News the man inside the car fired two shots at officers. Barber described them as “provocation shots.” Police did not fire back.
Then the armed man exited the car and walked onto the sidewalk with a gun held to his own head. After a few moments he reentered the vehicle.
The car was parked on the opposite side of Government Street from the large landmark government building.
Police received a report around 10 a.m. indicating a person inside the car, a silver Honda sedan, in front of the Plaza had suffered a gunshot wound. When emergency responders arrived to render assistance, the man inside the car held a gun to his own head and threatened to shoot himself, according to Mobile Police Cpl. Katrina Frazier.
Frazier said the MPD’s SWAT units and negotiators then responded.
Police earlier in the day said the situation was “contained” but advised citizens to stay away from the area.
Authorities at one time appeared to be using a loudspeaker to attempt to communicate with the person inside the vehicle. Subsequently, they delivered a phone to him.
Barber told FOX10 News just after 12:30 p.m. that mental health professionals in a nearby armored vehicle had been able to establish communication with the armed man. He described the man as having been “mostly uncooperative” through the morning.
Barber said officers who initially responded noticed blood on the man inside the car and that they pulled back when he presented a firearm.
Prine at 12:45 p.m. said authorities had identified the man inside the car and confirmed then that he was injured.
Prine said at that time the armed man had only threatened to harm himself and had made no threats to law enforcement officers are others. The chief said police “can wait him out.”
He said, “Time is on our side at this point.”
After more than five hours and after the man had fired shots at officers, however, the situation became more tense.
Through the ordeal, police directed people away from Government Plaza. Government Street was blocked to traffic, and the Bankhead Tunnel was closed.
Mobile Fire-Rescue was on the scene. FBI officials also were observed on the scene.
The front doors to Government Plaza nearest the scene were locked. The facility houses both city and county courts, as well as city and county government. Activities inside the building were disrupted through the event.
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