Four-hour standoff ends in arrest

Police were called to Prospect Park when a man shouted at construction workers and then fired a gun in the air.

by Tara Bannow

A number of Prospect Park residents couldnâÄôt get to their homes Wednesday afternoon during a four-hour police standoff between police and a man who fired a gun into the air. Police were called to 232 Cecil St. shortly after 4 p.m. on a report that 55-year-old Richard OâÄôBrien âÄî who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol âÄî shouted at construction workers on a roof across the street, went back inside to retrieve his gun, returned and fired. No one was hurt. At least 50 University of Minnesota and Minneapolis police officers, in addition to SWAT team members and negotiators, surrounded the home. Police were on the verge of evacuating neighbors just as OâÄôBrien appeared in his doorway. He was arrested and booked for making terroristic threats. More criminal charges may be filed following further investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Greg Reinhardt said. It wasnâÄôt OâÄôBrienâÄôs first interaction with police. TheyâÄôd been to his house twice before âÄî once in 2004 and again in 2007 âÄî to tend to his âÄúhealth related issues.âÄù This time, officers removed a number of rifles and handguns from his home, as they had in 2007. This is not a typical situation, Reinhardt said. SWAT was only called twice last year. âÄúItâÄôs very infrequent that we have police operations like this,âÄù he said. During a standoff, every opportunity is taken to resolve the situation peacefully, Reinhardt said. But when suspects donâÄôt cooperate, the police have to escalate to higher levels of security. In this case, that meant blocking off the entire street and calling in negotiators. Some residents were frustrated at not being able to enter their homes. Valentine Cadieux, a University of Minnesota postdoctoral fellow in the department of geography, lives down the road from OâÄôBrien. She said she was surprised to find her street was blocked off last night, so she had to wait before she could get home. People in the neighborhood tend to keep to themselves, and although sheâÄôs never spoken with OâÄôBrien, sheâÄôs seen him enter and leave his house several times. HeâÄôs lived in the neighborhood for a long time, she said. Although OâÄôBrien lives alone, he owns a cocker spaniel. âÄúI just wonder whoâÄôs taking care of his dog,âÄù Cadieux said.