Tuesday September 02, 2014

Man in Barriere standoff was armed, police say

Keith Anderson

Barriere resident Gus Rehak, left, talks with RCMP Const. Michelle Hall on Bradford Road Sunday after he was asked to leave his home.

Barriere RCMP say a man who held out for 29 hours in a standoff following a domestic dispute was seen clutching a bolt-action rifle when he was first approached.

The standoff ended peacefully Monday at 6 a.m. when the Barriere resident exited the garage where he was first seen with the rifle late Saturday evening. Neighbours were allowed to go back to their homes Monday morning.

Police said the 43-year-old man is alleged to have been in breach of court conditions preventing him from being at the residence. Early Monday afternoon he was being held in Barriere detachment cells.

Cpl. Darin Underhill said police were first called about 11:30 p.m. Saturday evening after receiving a report of a domestic assault  at Birch Lane in Barriere.

The woman from the house was located suffering from minor injuries at a nearby home. Two Barriere RCMP members entered the house to look for the suspect.

"The members observed the male with a bolt-action rifle in his hands and the male refused to comply with police instructions to drop the weapon," Underhill said in a statement.

Police moved back and reinforcements were brought in from the region, including the Southeast District Emergency Response Team.

RCMP brought in an adult son to help talk the Barriere resident out of his home, the village's mayor said.

"One son was brought into help," Bill Humphreys said of information from neighbours. That adult son, they said, is from Saskatchewan and arrived in Barriere Sunday.

"They got ahold of him and rushed him here," he said.

The couple has a history of domestic problems, neighbours said. A juvenile child was not home at the time of the incident, Humphreys said.

Underhill said police continued discussions with the resident overnight.

After he walked out, police seized a loaded .270 high-powered hunting rifle in the house along with another .22 rifle and two bows, with arrows.

During the standoff, nearby residents had been given the choice of staying in their homes or leaving and not coming back.

Those who lived within a few houses were given no choice but to leave. Tom Fennell said RCMP woke up him, his wife and son at 6 a.m. They were given two minutes to leave.

“They kicked out everyone but the dog.”

Fennell said the evacuation was a minor inconvenience because they have plenty of family who live in Barriere.

Like other neighbours, Fennell said police visits to the home on domestic disputes was a regular occurrence.

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