Police Standoff With Armed, Barricaded Man

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Payson police responded with their tactical unit to a suicidal man barricaded in his Ash Street apartment with a high-powered rifle, equipped with a scope, Monday.

Ernest Lewis, 62, initially called Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde, threatening suicide.

"The 911 call came in from security at the casino," Det. Sgt. Tom Tieman said.

According to Sgt. Rod Mamero, Lewis was despondent and called his daughter who works at the casino to say goodbye. She flagged down security who contacted the Payson police.

"We were able to backtrack his phone number from Qwest and determine his location," Mamero said.

Officers quickly evacuated nearby apartments. A command post was set up behind Woody's and members of the department's Special Response Team were called in.

"We understand (Lewis) was a Vietnam vet," Tieman said. "We set up a perimeter and got the Special Response Team to come out in case we needed to make an entry."

Tieman said they worked with Qwest to enable Lewis to talk to Payson police negotiator Sgt. Dean Faust.

Faust talked to Lewis, who was described as very intoxicated. After about two hours, the incident ended peacefully.

"He advised he would come out without a weapon," Tieman said. "A few minutes later he did come out, unarmed."

Lewis was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center. According to Tieman, Rim Guidance performed an evaluation and Lewis was later released into the care of family members.

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