7-hour police standoff leaves Carmel community shakenPosted: Updated:
A seven-hour police standoff with an apparent U.S. Army veteran Saturday has left a community in Carmel shaken.
Police say the standoff started around 2 p.m. when an officer went to speak with 28-year-old Alexander Booth at his home on Putnam Drive about an incident involving his wife.
Officials say that incident triggered the standoff early Saturday afternoon when the officer showed up at the house and thought he heard a gunshot. After the officer requested backup, Booth allegedly began to barricade himself inside.
The Town of Carmel Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety's special response and negotiation team responded to the standoff.
As a safety precaution, officers began evacuating neighboring houses while the Putnam County Emergency Response Team and Negotiation Team were notified. "It looked like a SWAT team outside, the next thing I know there was like an armored vehicle going up the hill so I took my wife and kid downstairs and we watched some movies downstairs and stayed out of harm’s way,” says Brian Wagner, of Carmel.
According to Booth's social media account, he served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
Officials say social media posts from Booth started going viral during the standoff, which led to a flood of phone calls and messages over the incident. In those social media videos, Booth was dressed in tactical gear, sharing live updates from his point of view. "They had the road blocked off, we saw people leaving their houses, we saw one house on the corner of here left with what looked like two dogs, so it was a little scary because we didn't really have any information as to what was going on," says Kate John, of Carmel.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says the social media frenzy heightened the stakes of the incident because law enforcement couldn't get in touch with the community from the heavy overflow of calls and messages. "This is a person in crisis, having mental illness, having issues and he didn't need the people on social media telling him that his rights are being violated. He needed help -- medical help," says Town of Carmel Police Chief Michael Cazzari.
In a statement, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department said, "The incident was widely reported to be a law enforcement effort to seize firearms under 'Red Flag' laws. This information is incorrect. The law enforcement response and subsequent arrest was related to a domestic violence investigation. The social media frenzy heightened the stakes of the incident because law enforcement couldn't get in touch with the community from the heavy overflow of calls and messages."
Police say it came to a peaceful resolution around 9:30 p.m. when Booth surrendered himself to police.
He was arrested and is facing charges related to the previous domestic incident, including burglary, criminal trespass, criminal contempt, aggravated harassment and petit larceny.
Police say they did not recover any weapons or ammunition from Booth's home and believe no one was injured.