71-year-old gunman arrested after 20-hour standoff in Cote-Saint-Luc
MONTREAL -- Montreal police and their provincial counterparts forcibly removed a man from his home Wednesday morning, 20 hours after an armed standoff began.
Police had used increasingly more aggressive tactics as the standoff wore on but were unable to convince the man, identified by his lawyer as 71-year-old Abraham Havis, to come out peacefully.
In addition to trying to communicate with the man via a megaphone, overnight police broke windows and threw tear gas grenades inside. On Wednesday morning a Surete du Quebec armoured car removed the house's front door.
At 8 a.m. officers rushed into the house and shot the man with two rubber bullets. They then pulled the man outside, placing him face down on the front lawn before arresting him.
"His health was evaluated and then he was taken to hospital," said Montreal police Const. Daniel Lacoursiere.
Attorney Jeffrey Boro said Havis suffered broken bones which resulted from police having to use force during his arrest, and also from rubber bullets. He is still in the hospital and expected to be operated on. It is not yet clear when he will appear in court to face charges.
Havis, who sometimes goes by the first name Isidore, owned a clothing store on Notre-Dame St. in the past, but has not worked in many years due to ill health.
Havis is known to the police and appeared in court in the past for interfering with police operations.
On Wednesday afternoon police removed dozens of firearms from the home. Police said they were made aware of the guns from a Surete du Quebec database that logs licensed weapons.
The incident started around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday on Guelph Rd. near Emerald Ave. when workers attempting to change a Hydro-Quebec meter said they had been threatened by a man with a firearm.
Havis then barricaded himself in his home and soon after Montreal's SWAT team arrived.
"When police officers arrived, there was no chance to be taken," said Montreal police spokesperson Anie Lemieux.
Their initial actions at opening a dialogue were unsuccessful and on Tuesday afternoon a gunshot was fired at officers, striking one in the foot. The officer's foot was bruised and the injury is not serious.
Police then set up a large perimeter, ordering people to remain inside their homes and stay off the streets while they tried to convince the man to come outside.
Paul Horowitz, manager of the Cote-Saint-Luc Tennis Club, said police asked them to leave the area.
"After 12 o'clock we were told by police to vacate the premises, and most left other than the manager and the assistant manager," he said. "We were told to vacate. We've heard at the moment the area's blocked off heard the area's blocked off, because there's a situation and we're waiting until the situation is over."
Officers tried leaving a cell phone on his front steps, talking to the man with a megaphone, and having his adult daughter plead with him to put down his weapons and come outside. When that failed, police threw canisters of tear gas into the house.
"The tactical intervention police officers do have different ways of working around it and trying to get this man to come out. This is what we want, this man to come out in a safe way, we want everybody's safety," Lemieux said Tuesday.
Several neighbours described Havis as anti-social and aggressive. Some said they had been threatened by him in the past. His next-door neighbour Avy Ohayon said he has had multiple confrontations with the man in recent years.
"He literally has mental issues. He has an illness and everyone is just scared... to point it out. Things like this have to happen for them to open their eyes," said Ohayon.
"He's told us he's going to kill us a few times. We never really took it personally because he's old, he's sick."
With a report from The Canadian Press