Tense moments Saturday for Lexington police officers when an armed man holds them at bay in a park.
It all began at 154 Avon Avenue where police responded to a domestic violence call, and a man with a gun ran off toward Castlewood Park. He was overheard shouting, "Somebody please shoot me", or words to that effect.
Commander Shawn Coleman of the city's Emergency Response Unit tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "He ended up in the park. At that time he was armed with a handgun, refusing to surrender. Our Emergency Response Unit was called in at which time we set up a perimeter around the park in order to secure the residences."
Police were concerned enough about the potential danger that they evacuated a number of homes.
Commander Coleman says, "We had all the surrounding streets blocked off to prevent traffic and evacuated any houses that were close to the area that would be in danger. We then began negotiating. The work of the negotiation unit was able to talk the subject into surrendering without further incident."
There were unconfirmed reports that the man at one point climbed up a tree, but officers say he was out in the open in plain sight when he surrendered. The whole incident surprised the man's neighbors.
Donna Meredith, who lives just two doors away, says, "He's a very nice gentleman, very quiet. When he would come back from work, he would have his little boy with him. This is very surprising."
When the standoff ended, police were back at the man's home continuing their investigation. He has since been identified as 35 year old Joseph Maurice Humphrey. He faces several charges including fleeing and evading, wanton endangerment, and resisting arrest.
And 27 NEWSFIRST has learned that Humphrey has been a guard at the Blackburn Correctional Facility since 1998. Officials there tell 27 NEWSFIRST he was recently a training instructor, but was dismissed on July 21. No reason was given, but a spokesperson says a hearing on the matter has been scheduled.