Spokane police convinced a suicidal gunman to surrender to authorities after more than an hour of negotiations at a golf course Wednesday afternoon.
The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation.
The man never threatened anyone’s life but his own, said Deputy Chief Larry Hersom. Still, about six armed officers were positioned behind trees at Esmeralda Golf Course and Driving Range, E3933 Courtland, in case of a threat, Hersom said.
“It was a pretty wide-open area,” Hersom said. “One of the things we had going for us was it was not in the middle of the city with a lot of people around.”
The man’s wife wanted to try to talk to her husband, who was standing in a wooded area on the east side of the course, but officers restrained her.
“Often a suicidal person doesn’t want to go alone,” Lt. Jim Nicks said. “He’ll try to take someone with him.”
The golf course’s fairways and forested areas posed a problem as darkness fell. Police called the Fire Department to ask for portable lights should the standoff continue.
“Come 5 o’clock, we either had to have him illuminated or (the situation) ended somehow,” Nicks said.
Police received the 911 call at 1:44 p.m. They responded to a house on East Courtland where the man’s wife told officers her husband had walked from the house with a gun, Nicks said.
Officers searched the area and found the man about 2:30 at the golf course, five blocks east of the house on Courtland.
Two golfers were leaving when the man arrived, said golf pro Rex Schultz. The course superintendent rounded up the three golfers still on the course and brought them to the clubhouse.
The two golf pros were surprised to see police cars roll through the parking lot and onto the course. They had seen the man wander past the clubhouse but had not seen a gun.
“He wasn’t walking around like this,” Schultz said, pointing an imaginary gun at his head. “He was just wandering around, kicking the gravel. The next thing you know, police cars start tearing onto the course.”
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