Police standoff in New Bedford ends peacefully - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Police standoff in New Bedford ends peacefully

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The suspect arrested after a tense standoff with police in New Bedford will be in court Friday morning.  Police have identified the man as 30-year-old John Hernandez.

The standoff had residents on edge and traffic at a standstill on Thursday night during the height of the evening commute.

The standoff began shortly after 5 p.m. in Southcoast Condominium Complex located on Phillips Road when an armed man barricaded himself inside of one of the apartments. 

Shots were fired when police first arrived on scene, prompting the police to close down Route 140 on both sides between exits six and seven bringing traffic to a standstill.   

New Bedford's Mayor says the peaceful resolution to the volatile incident is a credit to the training and bravery of all of the responding officers.

"It reflects the work of a very well trained police department, both the new Bedford police department as well as the state police. They did precisely what they were supposed to have done, and nobody got hurt. Nobody got hurt because they did that job so well," Mayor Jon Mitchell said.

But with a four hour standoff, that surrender didn't come easily.

In fact, it took the combined efforts of all responding officers who are part of the New Bedford Special Reaction Team, and the Massachusetts State Police Stop Team to carry out the take-down plan that authorities ultimately employed to force the situation to a peaceful conclusion.

Capt. John Byrne is the Tactical Operations Director for the Massachusetts State Police. He said it was something called a BearCat, that really came in handy on Thursday night to keep officers, residents and highway drivers safe.

It's a multi purpose transportation vehicle, it's armored. It protects the operators. It enables them to approach closely to a building, or to the threat itself, and they are able to do many things at one time.

And the ability to break a window safely without injuring the driver, is one of its most useful features.

"Once we were able to breach the windows and make contact with him, they were able create a dialogue that tempered the situation and he came to his senses and realized it was in his best interest to surrender," Byrne said.

"I think everybody better stop and take a breath, and really think, and give a lot of credit to the initial officers on the scene that stabilized it, knocked it down. It was an exceptionally astounding peaceful resolution, to what could have been an ugly situation," New Bedford Police Chief David Provencher said.

Through negotiations the suspect was convinced to peacefully surrender, and the situation was able to be resolved before anyone was injured. 

According to investigators, "family issues" may have led to the standoff.

The suspect remains in custody and police told NBC 10 that he will face a long list of charges.

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