Tactical team descends on O.B. house

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Members of the Martha's Vineyard Tactical Unit gather at MVRHS Tuesday. - Lexi Pline

Updated 6 pm

The Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team deployed to a home on Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs Tuesday afternoon. Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Timothy Williamson told The Times police were serving a court order to a basement tenant of the residence at the request of a family member when they received word that he might have barricaded himself inside.

Williamson said the man’s mother attempted to communicate with him via phone calls, and the police also attempted to contact the man to tell him to come out.

After approximately 30 minutes of failed communication efforts, police called the man’s attorney, who advised them that the man was threatening harm from inside the home.

Because the man was threatening harm, Williamson said, police dispatched the tactical team.

Fire and EMS teams staged at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, where several people could be seen putting on body armor in heavy rain and carrying assault rifles.

A small caravan of police vehicles led by a black tactical response truck motored from the high school at 1:15 pm and through the roundabout onto Barnes Road. At the house, police and tactical team officers took up positions in a downpour. 

Police continued to attempt contact with the man through the door of the residence, and a negotiator was on the scene trying to speak with the man.

Williamson said the man had barricaded the door with an electric stove, but the tactical team was able to open the door with a key from the man’s mother, and pushed the stove far enough away to open the door.

Police then ordered the man to put his hands up and surrender, according to Williamson. 

Williamson said there were no weapons in the vicinity, and the man was taken into custody. Currently, the man is charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and refusal to submit to a police officer, and is being held on a court order.

Williamson declined to name the man because of possible mental health issues. The man is expected to be arraigned later this week. 

Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden said sheriff’s personnel were involved with both the tactical team itself and a mobile communications unit set up at the high school. Ogden noted “a very volatile situation was controlled with great professionalism” by police agencies and the tactical team, in addition to dispatchers and telecommunications, who were part of the Mobile Command Unit and critical incident communications. 

Ogden extended his “appreciation and deep respect” to the Vineyard law enforcement community and Dukes County Sheriff’s deputies.

Reporter Lucas Thors contributed to this report.