Tense standoff in St. Paul had police thinking back to Mayerthorpe murders

A tense, seven-hour RCMP standoff with an armed man Monday night likely had many police officers thinking about a tragedy in Mayerthorpe more than a decade ago.

The seven-hour standoff near St. Paul ended peacefully around midnight, with one man in custody

The intersection of Highways 881 and 29 going into St. Paul was reopened Tuesday morning, police said. (CBC)

A tense, seven-hour RCMP standoff with an armed man Monday night likely had many police officers thinking about a tragedy in Mayerthorpe more than a decade ago.

The standoff near St. Paul ended peacefully around midnight, with a man in custody.

But the events that unfolded during the evening and into the night seemed to many, eerily similar to those that took place 11 years ago on James Roszko's farm near Mayerthorpe, where four Mounties were ambushed and shot to death.

Monday's dangerous altercation began when a bailiff tried to seize a vehicle and was confronted by a man with a gun.

At around 6:30 p.m., RCMP issued a news release that confirmed officers were responding to reports of a firearms complaint. The release asked the public to stay away from the intersection of Highways 881 and Highway 29 near St. Paul.

During the evening, RCMP deployed many resources to the scene, including the Explosive Disposal Unit. 

Around midnight, the man finally surrendered to police.

Sgt. Jack Poitras said, in the years since the Mayerthorpe murders, police now have more equipment and more training to deal with dangerous situations.

"They come with the emergency response team," Poitras said Tuesday. "Because they have access to robots. And they're able to sometimes use the robots to either bring a phone in to establish communication, get a camera closer to a scene, get a better look at what's going on, without jeopardizing human life."

Poitras said Mayerthorpe was likely on the minds of many RCMP officers who responded to the scene near St. Paul.

The town is about 195 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.