Wilton police respond to ‘despondent’ man with an assault rifle

Wilton police called in the Southwest Emergency Response Team (SWERT) Wednesday, Feb. 13, to respond to a a home where a distraught man was believed to be in possession of an assault rifle and was threatening to do himself harm. A school bus was stopped from entering the residential area where the person in question lived and homes in the area were evacuated.

According to a press release issued by the department, police received information about 10 Wednesday morning regarding a Hulda Hill Road resident who might harm himself. The information came from an acquaintance of the man, who had received emails indicating he was despondent and might do himself harm. The acquaintance also received a photo of an assault weapon surrounded by pills and what appeared to be a hand-written will.

After determining the information was legitimate, police immediately gathered information, including statements, intelligence regarding the home, neighborhood, access and a complete history of the man including innocent people who may have been or could be endangered.

Police then called in the SWERT team, which consists of officers from various towns throughout southwestern Fairfield County. Wilton is a member of this team providing five officers in various roles. The team has extensive training in many different facets of emergency rescue, search, forced entry, negotiating, surveillance and snipers.

In addition, Wilton police called in all available officers along with assistance from area departments. A command center was established with Wilton Fire and EMS placed on stand-by. An operations plan was created and put into place along with contingency plans to address all possible scenarios.

Police established a perimeter and evacuated several homes and detoured the school bus. A guest at the home was alerted and was able to leave.

Once this was complete, police said, the SWERT negotiators were able to communicate with the man by phone, and were able to convince him to come out peacefully. He was then taken into protective custody without incident, police said.

When officers entered the home they found a fully loaded AR 15 assault rifle behind the front door. The rest of the home was searched and no one else, nor any guns were found. The man was taken for medical treatment and is being held for a psychological examination as required by state law.