Supermarket stand-off ends after day of drama

A MAN has been taken to Gympie Hospital for assessment after a day of high drama at Tin Can Bay's former IGA supermarket.

Witnesses said the man appeared to have broken into the store after landlords changed the locks in response to a tenancy dispute.

Local knowledge helped save the day, according to incident commander and Gympie Police Patrol Group Inspector Stephen Donnelly.

Tin Can Bay police were called to deal with "an agitated male person," Insp Donnelly said.

"They knew him quite well I understand," he said.

"He basically told them to get out and he told them he was going to torch the place.

"He produced a small fuel tin and a cigarette lighter.

"Local police retreated and called for reinforcements, including negotiators."

That was about 7am and the start of a long day for emergency crews, including ambulance and fire officers.

"There's been an ongoing civil dispute, I understand," Insp Donnelly said.

Police are currently conversing with the man inside the Tin Can Bay IGA store.
Police are currently conversing with the man inside the Tin Can Bay IGA store. Tom Daunt

The man barricaded himself in the store, locking the front doors and blocking side doors with pallets, he said.

"The negotiator here was able to talk him into surrendering and he is now on his way to Gympie," he said.

"The bottom line is he did not directly threaten police or anyone else.

"We'll deal with him under the health system to provide him with the support he needs."

READ: How the stand-off unfolded 

Insp Donnelly said first response police had the capability to deal directly with emergencies, but because of that local rapport, they decided it was better to talk to him through the doors.

"During the morning it escalated to the extent that he poured petrol on himself.

"He produced quite a large knife from the kitchen area of the premises and was self- harming on his arm and was quite agitated.

"He never directly threatened us, but he basically gave police the ultimatum to back off or he would not continue to talk to us.

"He opened the door and produced the knife at one stage.

HORROR DAY: Shocking details have emerged surrounding the end of the standoff at Tin Can Bay.
HORROR DAY: Shocking details have emerged surrounding the end of the standoff at Tin Can Bay. Renee Albrecht

"As the police priority is to talk to people, so we did."

Insp Donnelly said police had a three-officer negotiating team at the scene.

"We had three here today, one local and two from Maryborough and they work as a team,"

he said.

Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

Negotiators began soon after 9am.

"They have certain strategies which they use.

"Today was very successful, which I am very happy about," Insp Donnelly said.

"We've been negotiating with him for the best part of over three hours."

"He made certain demands, some of which were met and some not.

"We just negotiated towards an agreed surrender."

The fuel can a man used to douse himself in petrol
The fuel can a man used to douse himself in petrol Renee Pilcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police had to convince the man to stop smoking cigarettes as he was covered in petrol.

"Basically he asked for a change of clothes, because he had poured petrol over himself," Insp Donnelly said.

"We went to his house and got some clothes and he changed," he said.

"He put down the petrol can and the knife and removed the pallets from the side door.

"We searched him and took him to Gympie Hospital."

Tin Can Bay stand-off at local supermarket
Tin Can Bay stand-off at local supermarket Renee Albrecht

Insp Donnelly said the man had poured petrol around the building, but no evidence was found.

"He certainly poured it over himself though," he said.

He said local police did well setting up an exclusion zone and evacuating people in nearby premises.

"There was never any danger to the public," he said.

"The person responsible cordoned off the area and approached residents in two nearby homes.

"You might have seen a crowd gather and we just moved them back across the road and made a public safety declaration.

Insp Donnelly said the man was in custody under the Mental Health Act and would be assessed at Gympie Hospital.

"I'd like to thank our partners in emergency services, including the fire service officers, who don't normally find themselves in close contact with people who might potentially harm them." he said.

Gympie Times


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