New London standoff ends without incident

New London police take cover behind a police cruiser as they try to get into position to peacefully take a woman into custody from the woods off of Farmington Avenue and Nautilus Drive in New London Tuesday, June 10, 2014.
New London police take cover behind a police cruiser as they try to get into position to peacefully take a woman into custody from the woods off of Farmington Avenue and Nautilus Drive in New London Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Tim Cook/The Day

New London — A stun gun was used Tuesday to subdue a woman and end a standoff that police said may have been an effort by the woman to commit suicide by provoking police officers to shoot her.

Police walked the unidentified woman out of a swampy, wooded area off Nautilus Drive shortly before 6 p.m. and escorted her into an awaiting ambulance. She was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for an emergency psychological evaluation.

Capt. Brian Wright, who was accompanied at the scene by other officers with crisis intervention training specifically aimed at dealing with the mentally ill, spent more than an hour talking to the woman one-on-one, trying to convince her to drop what was believed to be a gun.

Meanwhile, police had closed off a portion of Nautilus Drive at Farmington Avenue and stationed at least one officer balancing a rifle on the hood of a police cruiser, aiming in the direction of the woman at all times. A dog team paced back and forth along the edge of the woods while bystanders gathered in the area of a firetruck that was blocking access to the scene at Nob Hill Road.

At times, New London Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said, the woman held to her temple what was later discovered to be a “realistic facsimile firearm,” something police did not know during the incident.

It began when police responded to a call from a passerby reporting that the woman was distraught, suicidal and possibly armed.

Reichard credited officers, including incident commander Sgt. Greg Moreau, with ending the potentially deadly standoff without bloodshed.

“They do what they were trained to do and it worked out for the best this time,” he said.

No criminal charges were filed against the woman, and police did not release her name.

Many of the officers were forced to change their uniforms after the incident because, Reichard said, after the Taser was fired, they found themselves waist-deep in the swamp as they moved in to grab the woman.

Police said they have had several interactions in the past with the woman, who is known to police to have mental health issues.

g.smith@theday.com

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