New details are emerging about a police standoff in the La Quinta cove Wednesday night that ended with a man arrested by police and taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
“It could have been bad,” said Paul Airhart. He and others in the area were evacuated when his next door neighbor barricaded himself in his home for hours, triggering evacuations as he threatened to blow up his house with explosives, a claim later found to be untrue.
“I can see him trying to put them [police] off by saying that, but no, he’s not that kind of guy,” Airhart said.
The family of the man says he’s a 64-year-old ex-marine who struggles with bipolar disorder.
They say he had an episode Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a first police standoff and the man hospitalized — placed on a 3-day hold.
But a day later, he was able to walk out and hitchhike home, where he barricaded himself again.
“Brian was able to walk away from there — there was something wrong with that,” Airhart said. “If they had to come and extract him from the home, I think they probably should have made sure he did not leave.”
Family members of the man shared in a statement, “The police department needs better training with mental illness and needs a crisis team to work side-by-side with them.”
“We continue to receive ongoing training, not only annually, but sometimes weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, so the training is there,” said Deputy Mike Vasquez with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. “We would love more; we’re not going to hide that about it.”
Neighbors said they’re glad things weren’t worse.
“Everybody’s fine; no innocent bystanders were hurt,” Airhart said.
Police said no one was injured, other than the suspect, who suffered self-inflicted injuries. He’s now being held at the county jail, accused of making criminal threats.