Law officers spent most of the day Sunday trying to convince a man to come out of a house on the west side of North Platte.

The situation began shortly after noon Sunday near Buffalo Bill Ave. and West A. The 33-year-old man was reportedly on foot in the traffic lanes on Buffalo Bill, challenging cars.

When police arrived, he went into a nearby house at 2317 Anna St. that belonged to the family, and he refused to come out.

More police arrived, joined by state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The man reportedly yelled threats and fired unspecified projectiles at police, cracking a windshield on a patrol car, North Platte Police Chief Steve Reeves said in a press release Monday.

Reeves said the man threatened to kill officers and caused extensive damage to the house, throwing unspecified items out of broken windows.

The standoff lasted all day. Around 10:30 p.m., chemical agents were deployed and officers were able to talk the man into surrendering, Reeves said.

According to a live video by the North Platte Post, when the man gave up, he stepped out of the house and knelt with his arms behind his back. Then he stood with his arms behind his back, apparently complying with orders. Then he was taken down. It appears a short struggle ensued. The video was taken from across the street, so details are unclear.

He was placed in emergency protective custody and taken to Great Plains Health hospital.

A family member told the Bulletin that the man’s father died two weeks previously and he was temporarily staying at the house.

The man’s behavior had been erratic and he had damaged the house a few days earlier. Family members believed he was experiencing a psychotic break, but could not convince him to seek medical attention. 

Fearing that he would harm himself, or them or the house, they contacted police on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

Police checked the man at the house on Thursday, but he reportedly behaved normally while the police were there, so they left him alone.

On Thursday afternoon, his mother and her sister-in-law arrived from Colorado. They reportedly saw the man set papers on fire in the house and threaten to burn it down. He again refused to seek medical attention, so the women talked to police that afternoon and asked them again to help get him to the hospital.

His mother said police told them they could not remove him because he is an adult, and it would violate his rights to physically remove him.

She said if they had helped, the situation Sunday would have been prevented.

“I’m not trying to bash on the police,” she told the Bulletin. “I am beyond frustrated that this has gone this far. They said there was nothing they could do.”  

Reeves also said police negotiations were complicated by an unmanned aircraft that was flying above the scene, in violation of the law. He said that airspace violation will be investigated separately and encouraged anyone with information about the drone to contact the police department.

Reeves also criticized the local media outlet – the Post – for live streaming the incident.

He said “such conduct provides the suspect with real-time intelligence to counter police tactics. Participating in this type of activity makes the situation more dangerous for the responding officers.”

“For the protection of law enforcement and the general public, we ask that people stay away from the scene and wait until law enforcement has time to resolve the situation and release factual information,” Reeves said.

© 2022 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.