Five-hour standoff ends at Sherwood Mall

Nigel Armstrong
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A paramedic is seen talking to a police officer in a vehicle outside an incident Tuesday in the Sherwood Shopping Centre. A man inside the building was threatening harm to himself if his demands concerning social assistance were not met.

Man threatens to harm himself at Charlottetown social assistance office

A police crisis negotiation team spent five hours slowly calming a man down at the social assistance offices in Charlottetown Tuesday.

"He went into income support and passed them a note, saying he wasn't going to leave," said Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell of Charlottetown Police Services. "If they made him leave, he was going to do harm to himself."

He had a small knife with him, but police say he didn't make any threatening gestures with it.

"He wasn't threatening towards them, but he was going to use that to further his cause. He wasn't happy with the services he was getting," said MacConnell.

"Police arrived and it ended up in a crisis negotiation."

The man arrived at the reception desk just before the office closed at 5 p.m. It ended around 10 p.m. when the man was taken from the mall in handcuffs, taken to the ambulance for a quick check of his health and then loaded into the police van.

"This is a mental health issue, which we don't normally comment on," said MacConnell.

However, in this case, the event played out in the public space of the Sherwood Mall with police vehicles stationed outside in the parking lot blocking the main entrance of the building.

An ambulance was present, too.

MacConnell did not clarify if charges were pending. The incident is under investigation.

The office was the scene of another incident involving police in June when a woman became upset while meeting a social services worker there. She used a hammer to smash some windows inside the building as well as hit a vehicle in the parking lot before being arrested. At that time, the then health minister, Doug Currie, said his department was looking at its safety and security policies.

"It concerns me that someone would get to that state in our offices," Currie told The Guardian at the time. "This was an unfortunate situation, but it was also an isolated situation."

Organizations: Charlottetown Police Services

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • mccarthy-butler
    March 04, 2016 - 09:38

    Seems the people that need help the most do not get it..

  • This is Why
    March 02, 2016 - 14:43

    This is why we need a basic income. The social programs are not working. They are just making it harder for people.

  • Stan Hope
    March 02, 2016 - 14:01

    Re: MARY ... WOW ! Some pretty broad , shoot from the hip wide sweeping statements there Mary. But since you don't know the full details of this particular case perhaps you should keep your slanderous hurtful comments to yourself & your close knit group of busy body ambulance chaser's.

  • Chad Stordy
    March 02, 2016 - 10:11

    Hate to say it however social assistance is not always fair to the people who need it. They are just doing a job and only follow the rules they are given for the most. The people that work there can only do as told. However someone gets fired for missing time cause there kid was sick. Then there goes income even if they have the hours for ei but declined as they were fired they are responsible and social assistance will not help. However there are people just using social assistance so they don't have to work. My issue is everyone needs to look over there rules regulations. In what world will 78-100 feed a normal person 3 meals a day. so maybe our government needs to look at this information and be realistic. Regards,

  • donnie chapman
    March 02, 2016 - 09:36

    and you wonder why this man did what he did...the social assistant program is absurd..unless you are dropping out kids left right and center,or if you are an immigrant,,and if you have to wait for ei,,or lost your job,,welfare offers you the minimal amount,,but yet gives loads of money to ,like i said before,,immigrants and people who dont want to work...As for what Mr. Currie said about how someone would get to this state..Seriously!!!!...the assistance program is a joke,,i personally went through four months waiting and fighting for my ei,,so i can understand fully how someone would get to that point..You people are suppose to be there to help when help is needed,but when it comes down to it,,you ignore all signs of stress in a person,the you look down on us for needing offer next to nothing,,sorry you're over the amount allowed,,...So MR. Currie and this so called assistance program,,you all should be ashamed of yourselves for treating islanders this way.

  • Fed up
    March 02, 2016 - 09:14

    It concerned the Health Minister that things like this happens in the offices?!?! What SHOULD concern him....concern ALL that people get to this desperate state because they are hungry and cold on what the government decides to give them. What would Currie - or any Minister - know about not having money for food, etc.?!? NOTHING! They would just give themselves another raise!!

    • RALPH
      March 02, 2016 - 13:44

      Get your facts straight, Currie is no longer Health Minister, and this behavior is inexcusable.

  • Totally ridiculous
    March 02, 2016 - 09:07

    This person probably really needed the services that are provided there but wasn't receiving adequate benefits where there's other people completely ripping off the system and when theydo get reported all u get from the person on the other line is what would u like me to do about it sir I want you to investigate this issue further bc all it's doing is causing all of us honest taxpayers tons of money for our naive government to just be handing out money to people that are more then capable of working but are just to dam lazy and why would they work when all they have to do is pop out a few kids and let the govt look after them

    • A mother
      March 03, 2016 - 01:28

      We pop out a few kids,so we can go on assistance.Last I checked,it takes two to make a baby.Families part,and someone has the kids to take care of.Until you lived a single parent life,after a relationship has failed,and work your butt off,to pay for your kids medical,food,childcare,and a hundred other things.To still not make a living,and cause your child get sick you lose your job.Then try to seek help,and get refused,or have to wait.while your kids are hungry.Does the other parent step up to the plate and help,nope,they say well dang I gave you suport,100 per child this month,not my fault.Not my problem.So no we don't pop out kids so gov't looks after us and them,it takes two to POP them out,but only one left holding the bag when a relationship goes wrong.

  • Mary
    March 02, 2016 - 06:01

    Not surprised we have a society that has been raised on handouts! The term work does not exsist! And our wonderful doctors getting them hooked on prescription drugs!