Police disarm Lapeer County man carrying shotgun inside burning house

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LAPEER COUNTY (WJRT) (2/26/2018) - Police in Lapeer County successfully disarmed a man making suicidal threats inside his burning home Saturday evening.

A relative of the 50-year-old man called 911 after talking on the phone with him. He talked of harming himself and the relative became alarmed when smoke detectors started going off in the background.

The Lapeer County Sheriff's Office responded to the man's residence on Martus Road in North Branch Township around 6 p.m. The first deputy on the scene saw the man try to light a fire inside the house, then lost sight of him in the smoke.

As the deputy and a reserve deputy walked up to the house, they heard a shotgun racking and the suspect shouting at them not to enter the house. The deputies backed off and requested the Lapeer County Sheriff's Special Response Team.

Police established a perimeter and tried to set up negotiations with the suspect while a fire continued filling the house with smoke.

Around 6:30 p.m., Deputy Mike Tappen began talking to the suspect through a basement window. He successfully negotiated with the man and got him to throw the shotgun outside.

However, the suspect refused to come outside despite heavy smoke and fire intensifying in the house. He instead invited Tappen into the basement.

Tappen was able to push the suspect through a basement window, where two other deputies pulled him outside to safety. Tappen got out as flames continued to consume the house upstairs.

The North Branch and Deerfield Township fire departments extinguished the flames after everyone got outside.

The suspect was transported to McLaren Lapeer Region hospital and transferred to Hurley Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening burns and smoke inhalation. Tappen did not seek medical treatment.

The sheriff's office was still investigating the incident on Monday. Detectives and Michigan State Police fire investigators were at the residence on Monday collecting evidence.

The suspect was not arrested for charged with any crimes Monday. Police planned to present the case to the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office this week, which will decide whether any charges will be filed.

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