Police end day-long standoff at empty Calgary house

An eight-hour standoff at a home in Calgary's northeast ends peacefully as police determine the place was empty after their initial suspect surrendered.

Officers thought additional suspects may have been inside

Calgary Police used detonations and tear gas over the course of eight hours in an attempt to clear the supposed occupants of a home in the 900-block of Taradale Drive NE. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

An eight-hour standoff involving police in Calgary's northeast ended peacefully Saturday when officers determined the home was empty.

The stand-off began after a man in the home surrendered to officers who were responding to a call about an argument and a gunshot. Police believed there may have been other suspects inside.

They were dispatched to the home when a resident of the 900 block of Taradale Drive N.E. reported hearing a man arguing with a woman in the house next door at 4 a.m. MT Saturday. The resident also reported hearing a gunshot.

Calgary Police said they went to the home and a man surrendered himself almost immediately.

However they said information from that man, neighbours and officers on the scene suggested there were more people inside.

And so the stand-off began.

Detonations, tear gas used

More than a dozen police vehicles were called in as well as two ambulances and a fire truck.

Neighbours were told to hide in their basements.

As the day progressed, police used loud sound bursts to try and get the attention of the home's supposed occupants.

"We had a heck of a hard time getting a hold of anybody in there, and there was a reason for that," Paul Stacey, a Calgary Police duty inspector, said at the end of the day.

Police also threw tear gas canisters into the home, according to witnesses.

Finally, after removing the front door from its hinges, police determined the home was empty.

Stacey said police procedure is to take their time before entering a house that is the subject of a stand-off.

"There's an old adage called time, talk and tear gas," he said.

"Time is always on our side, as long as nobody's actively being injured," he added. "If that's the case, if someone's in immediate danger, of course we'll go in there. But if there's nobody in immediate danger, we have time."

According to neighbours the people living at the home — a man, three women, and a child — had been renting the place for two-and-a-half months. Neighbours also said the house was often the site of parties that would last late into the night.

Police said the man who surrendered faces weapons-related criminal charges and Stacey added he is "no stranger to police."

Police also recovered a handgun at the scene and said they believe it had been fired, hitting another home in the neighbourhood.

While the initial 911 call made reference to a woman in the home, police said they were not able to find that person.


With files from the CBC's Meghan Grant