Man, claiming to be armed, prompts huge police response in Avonmore last night

The OPP command post that was set up at Rockin' Ronda's last night as police searched for a man with mental health issues. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

AVONMORE — A dozen or more police cruisers descended on Avonmore yesterday evening in response to a reported mental health situation that residents say involved a man who had told his therapist that he was armed and suicidal.

Avonmore was effectively “locked down” for a time until the man was apprehended, according to residents’ Facebook posts.

Officers with the SD&G OPP set up a command post at Rockin’ Ronda’s restaurant, which is normally closed on Monday and was not otherwise involved in the unfolding situation. Rockin’ Ronda’s co-owner Michael St-Denis said he had just returned from getting groceries when police arrived in his parking lot and “asked us if it was okay for them to use our restaurant as a command post, to track” the man’s location.

“We served coffee and dessert while they stayed,” he added by Facebook messenger.

The man being sought by police had been tracked from Embrun “where he told his therapist that he wanted to die a certain way,” St-Denis reported. “The police were called, and they followed him to Avonmore, where they lost site of him outside of Barkley’s store. They later were able to track him down in the middle of town. He was unarmed, and the only weapon he had was a realistic pellet hand gun.”

The pellet gun was recovered from the man’s truck, clarified St-Denis. “He left his truck in front of Barkley’s store and walked to a friend’s house. His pellet gun was left in his truck; he was not walking around armed as many people are saying.”

Officers located the man “before 9 p.m. at a house on Main Street. There were cops and dogs all over town!” Julia Beshara reported in a Facebook post.

A Facebook poster also reported seeing officers on snowmobiles.

Nation Valley News has asked the SD&G OPP for official comment on the situation.

Incident ‘closed’

Update: As the detachment handling the initial call, Russell County OPP have issued a very brief statement on the events in Avonmore. Says Const. Cynthia Savard: “The OPP responded with the appropriate resources to a reported incident in the area. No charges were laid, there were no injuries and the incident is closed.”



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