At approximately 4:00PM yesterday afternoon, police in Columbia, MO received a report stating that someone was being threatened with a gun in a house off of Garth Avenue. Believing that there was a potential hostage situation in progress, six police cars responded to the incident, and police surrounded the house– thinking the suspect was still inside the house and armed, potentially in the basement. It’s unclear if police thought the individual being threatened was still in the residence as well.
Officers surrounded the house for more than two hours, calling in a negotiator and shouting to the alleged suspect to come out of the house peacefully and speak with them. When I inadvertently drove through the standoff on my way home last night, police were still stationed behind their vehicles in a defensive posture, weapons drawn. Camera crews for local media outlets lined the other side of Garth Avenue. Traffic was moving slowly through the area, and a home daycare across the street was closed off for the entirety of the standoff with two workers and three children still inside. Parents unable to pick up their children and neighbors milled around the area outside.
The standoff finally ended when… get this… police realized the house was empty. There was no one in the residence. No one has been charged. It is unclear if there is a pending investigation.
Now, I’m all for police taking reports seriously, especially in this day and age, and I’m all for endings where no one has been hurt, and where there wasn’t really a standoff to being with (standoff connotes that two separate parties were involved, wouldn’t you agree?)… But the fact that I was inadvertently and briefly involved in a police standoff during my drive home (and as my fellow SI writers pointed out, was not taken into police custody) was quite different from my normal commute home!