Schenectady standoff ends with tear gas

June 01, 2016 05:37 PM

SCHENECTADY - A five-hour-long standoff in Schenectady ended when police shot canisters of tear gas into 69 James Street around 11 am, Wednesday. 

After barricading themselves inside, two suspects finally emerged after onto the second story porch, gasping for air, doubling over, and spitting up. 

A SWAT team kicked down the door, and hauled away the three inside, without firing a shot. Police say they had to go in.  

"We bullhorned him for over an hour and a half. Trying to get him to come out. He refused. Wouldn't even talk to us. Wouldn't even say hello," said Lt. Mark McCracken, who had done the one-sided negotiating.

The standoff started just before 7 am. US Marshals were there for 24-year-old Rafael Gonzales. They wanted to arrest him on a parole violation, but say the people inside the house barricaded themselves in.  Gonzales is a suspect in a recent shooting.  

"A shooting that took place here in the last two weeks. I don't want to get into that because it's pending. But I have identified him as a suspect," said Wayne Bennett, Public Safety Commissioner.

Police didn't know who the other two people in the building were. The man who didn't go out onto the porch, passed out inside after the gas.  

Commissioner Bennet says even Gonzales's family couldn't reason with him over the phone.

"Chief Falvo was with the grandmother when she was placing the phone calls. She couldn't make him think straight either. He said, I'm not surrendering," said Bennett.

Lieutenant Mark McCracken says tear gas and kicking down the door was justified.

"The individual is on parole. They had an outstanding warrant for him. He dictated what action we were going to take. Absolutely. Just because you don't want to go to jail, doesn't mean you can barricade your door and ignore it," said McCracken.

All three were taken to Ellis Hospital.  Gonzales is in custody on that parole violation. The man and woman are being held for questioning.

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There was a fourth person in this house.  Police say it was a woman who got out when she saw US Marshalls just before 7 am.

Five people were also evacuated from a nearby home.


WNYT Staff

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