Vancouver police spent 11 hours in a standoff with an empty house Monday, after an unidentified man reportedly brandishing an axe escaped unnoticed out the back door.

Police ERT team enter house believed to hold axe-wielding man

Some 11 hours after police surrounded the house, an emergency response team finally entered the building — only to find the suspect had likely escaped out the back of the building as soon as he saw police earlier in the day. (CBC)

Witnesses reported seeing a 25-year-old man running down the street, carrying the axe and threatening another man on Main Street near East 51st Avenue at around 8:30 a.m. PT. 

But by the time police arrived, the suspect had returned to a duplex on East 51st Avenue and was standing outside in the garden.

According to a statement released by police on Monday night, officers went to the duplex but upon seeing the police, the suspect ran inside the building.

Police then evacuated everyone from the home, shut down several blocks of Main Street south of 49th Avenue and surrounded the property while they attempted to negotiate with the man.

Some 11 hours later, without any sign of contact, a police emergency response team finally entered the building — only to find the suspect had likely escaped out the back of the building as soon as he saw police earlier in the day.

Speaking before the team entered the building, Sgt. Randy Fincham said police believed the suspect may have hurt someone, but the alleged victim had already disappeared when police arrived at the scene.

"We had one report that the person with the axe was possibly chasing the other man near or at this bus stop. We haven't had this person phone 911 yet," said Fincham.

"We haven't been able to speak with this alleged victim, so we're hoping if there's somebody out there that saw this take place this morning, or had a role in this, that they call us so we can speak to them and determine what's happening."

Anyone with any information can call 604-717-3321 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.solvecrime.ca.