Standoff on Jackson Street

I was just on my way to work.

I had just gotten through the line at Stop & Shop, when I got an alert from WFSB Channel 3 about a man who had barricaded himself in his home on Jackson Street.

I had to think quickly. I had a salad and some hummus with me and I knew the standoff probably wouldn’t be less than 20 minutes, so I decided to run to work, about a half-mile away.

It turned out to be a good decision because I ended up being on Jackson Street for almost three hours.

I got alerted early enough to get to the scene before the traffic was backed up. The standoff happened at, arguably, the worst time.

School buses were letting students off, while traffic was backing up, as police had already blocked off the road. Less than 20 houses were in the stretch of houses, but, when I arrived, many people were outside.

It was pretty chaotic. With the proximity to so many houses, I was going to try and talk to neighbors near where the SWAT team was. I was too late.

The Willimantic Police Department, not 10 minutes after I arrived on scene, evacuated every house between Prospect and Summit Streets. I wasn’t expecting that and I really don’t think the residents were expecting that either. Many of them hadn’t left their homes when the commotion started and were leaning on their porches trying to get a better view of the “action.”

Many weren’t happy that they had to leave their homes, but they didn’t put up a fight.

From there, I tried to get as much information as I could out of passersby and neighbors, but no one knew much. No one heard any gunshots and no one knew why there was such an intense police presence.

There was a lot of nothing going on for this one. Officers in full SWAT gear were walking around for another hour and then an ambulance backed up into the driveway and brought the man in question to the hospital.

Not five minutes after that ambulance left, the police presence was gone. Officers quickly went back to where they had come and it was like nothing had happened. I was pretty amazed on the “clean up.”

I was able to track down an officer that was on scene and ask him about any injuries, which none were reported. Det. Glode was able to confirm that with me later that night.

Also, I was able to find a resident, which I put at the end of my story. She didn’t know much, but I needed a resident’s perspective in the story. It was really lacking that aspect.

There wasn’t really too much to this story. The police showed up and were able to negotiate the man out of the house.

It was a win-win for them and a front-page story for us.

Jonathan

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