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Special ops team forces door open, deploys tear gas to end Jamestown standoff

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- The James Valley Special Operations Team used tear gas to end an eight-hour standoff that started Monday night with a Jamestown man who barricaded himself in a trailer home at Northland Estates, according to the Jamestown Police Department. The standoff led to a late-night evacuation of the neighborhood.

Troy Alan Elhard, 33, was arrested on charges of terrorizing and domestic assault at 3:38 a.m., said JPD Lt. Justin Blinsky. Elhard is being held at the Stutsman County Correctional Center.

After numerous failed attempts to communicate with the suspect, officers removed the door to the residence using an armored vehicle with an attachment, he said, at which point the suspect failed to surrender and tear gas was deployed. Shortly after the tear gas was deployed Elhard refused to surrender, but he did come out of the residence a few minutes later and was taken into custody without further incident at 3:48 a.m., Blinsky said.

No shots were fired by Elhard or police.

Elhard had two long guns and four handguns that were loaded and accessible to him in the residence, said Lt. Robert Opp, JPD day-shift commander. Elhard was not personally carrying or concealing any weapons at the time of his arrest, Blinsky said.

Police were called to the residence to check on a call about a domestic assault, he said. Details about the alleged assault are not available, but Elhard appeared to be intoxicated, and if other substances were involved it will come to light in the investigation, he said.

Elhard was not injured and neither were any of the 18 to 20 law enforcement officers in the standoff, he said.

“There were a lot of cold officers,” Blinsky said.

Elhard suffered a prior foot injury that was unrelated to the standoff, and he was medically cleared by Jamestown Area Ambulance personnel to be arrested, he said.

The incident started at approximately 8:06 p.m. Monday, when a domestic violence incident in Northland Estates was reported to Stutsman County Communications Center, Blinsky said. The address cannot be provided because of Marsy's Law, the victim’s rights law that was passed by North Dakota voters in November, he said.

Police spoke with the victim who escaped from the home and was taken to Jamestown Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries, he said. Elhard remained at the residence, and numerous attempts were made to contact him.

“The suspect would not cooperate or come out and speak with police,” Blinsky said. “He was armed and this was confirmed by the female in the residence.”

A search warrant was approved, and Blinsky commanded the James Valley Special Operations Team to serve the warrant. The James Valley Special Operations Team includes members from JPD, Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, Valley City Police Department and Barnes County Sheriff’s Office, and crisis negotiations specialists attempted to resolve the situation peacefully with Elhard.

“He made a comment that he had no problem basically dying in a standoff with police,” Blinsky said.

A command post was established with Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger on scene. Stutsman County Sheriff's Office deputies also assisted with the incident.

The number of people who were evacuated was not available but included residents in homes surrounding the suspect’s trailer in Northland Estates, Blinsky said. The American Red Cross -- Dakotas Region opened an emergency reception center for six people to remain for the duration of the standoff at the request of Stutsman County Emergency Management, said Jennifer Ross, regional communications officer for American Red Cross. The emergency reception center at the Jamestown Holiday Inn Express was open from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

“Coffee, water and food was available for people who were displaced and needed to be warm and safe,” Ross said. “There were three volunteers running the emergency reception center.”

Residents were allowed to return to Northland Estates shortly after 4 a.m., Blinsky said. It is now known if more displaced residents found shelter other than the Red Cross, Ross said.

Officers are still executing the search warrant and searching for evidence at the scene, and the Jamestown Police Department is investigating the case, he said.

Elhard is not known to local law enforcement, and his criminal record elsewhere is unknown at this time, he said.