Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Charges laid following standoff at Northern Lites Motel

An RCMP robot outside Room 12 where the negotiation took place. | photos James MacKenzie

Charges have been laid following the nine-hour standoff at the Northern Lites Motel on 50th Street on Thursday. Neither the police nor the man were injured, though RCMP say the man was “armed and barricaded.”

David Norman Brownlee, 37, faces two counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of uttering threats, two counts of forcible confinement and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

According to a witness, wishing to remain anonymous, the standoff ended when camouflage-clad RCMP Emergency Response Team members threw what appeared to be smoke or teargas grenades into Room 12 on the ground floor before rushing in. He said he saw smoke pouring out of a broken window as a man was hustled out of the room and under a nearby staircase.

The RCMP received a call at around 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning from a man “indicating a hostage situation,” said Const. Elenore Sturko. Shortly after, all of the residents of the Northern Lites Motel were asked to leave by police.

A resident of the neighbouring hotel room, also wishing to remain anonymous, said there were police officers outside the building earlier Thursday morning with hand guns drawn. The same man said police were at the building on Wednesday taking photographs.

The block between 51 and 52 Avenues was blocked off all Thursday morning by RCMP vehicles, as were the alleyways either side of 51 Street. There were four unmarked police vehicles in front of the building. There also appeared to be between 5-10 Emergency Response Team officers on scene, as well as several plain clothes officer and a police dog.

The crisis negotiating team was on scene using a robot on tracks to bring what appeared to be a microphone up to the apartment door. A speaker was set up outside, so the negotiator could communicate with the person inside the room.

Despite rumours that the incident is tied to events in Sunridge Place this past weekend that left one man dead and another with serious injuries, Sturko said police do not believe the events are connected.