Neighbors react to Bossier City standoff

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA)- A Bossier City neighborhood is back to normal after a standoff that went past midnight Friday.

Two houses were evacuated in the three and a half hour standoff. Hours after the last police car was gone, neighbors were still shaken.

My seven year old daughter came into the house and said there was about 10 police officers here. Of course I came right out, and they were coming by the droves," says Erin Cushing.

Cushing lives down the street from the home where a 51 year old man was surrounded by a SWAT team and Bossier police officers-"They told us all that we needed to stand back. That this man was unstable, and it wasn't safe for any of us to be outside of our homes."

She says man's next door neighbors came to her home with their children.

"They weren't allowed to return to their homes until he was taken out."

The chain of events started at railroad crossing at Barksdale Blvd. and Violet Avenue. Police say the man stopped his car on the tracks and told witnesses he was waiting for a train to come.

"Given this individual's behavior, wanting to harm himself, and the information that police had as to possible weapons inside that house, they acted accordingly," says Bossier City Public Information Officer Mark Natale.

One neighbor says the standoff was a complete over-reaction. But she admits most of the people in the neighborhood would probably agree with police that the they did what was necessary.

"They've got to take every step to ensure that nobody is injured or killed in a situation like this. It was a very volatile situation in dealing with an individual with this mindset," Natale says.

He adds that there have been calls to the man's home before for disturbances, but never for a situation where he threatened himself or barricaded himself inside.

The man was taken to LSU Health Sciences Center for mental evaluation. No criminal charges have been filed.

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