S/ Sgt. Chad Maxwell briefs the press after the City was lockdown due to reports of a man carrying a rifle (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).
CORNWALL, Ontario - A large part of the City of Cornwall was paralyzed on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 after reports of a man wandering the city carrying a gun.
The Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) received the initial report at around 8:50 a.m. in the area of Seventh and Amelia streets and Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School (CCVS) and the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) were ordered into lockdown and all other schools in Cornwall were placed under hold and secure orders.
All lockdown and hold and secure orders were lifted by 4 p.m. Buses were cancelled however, and parents were asked to pick their kids up at their schools.
After a day of investigation, CCPS, along with Cornwall's Mayor Bernadette Clement held a press conference at City Hall at around 4:15 p.m.
"This morning at approximately 8:50 a.m. the Cornwall Police Service received a report of a suspicious male in possession of a rifle," said CCPS Chief Danny Aikman. "The male was seen in the area of Amelia St. and Seventh St. near Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School, which was placed on lockdown shortly thereafter. The suspect was then later seen at approximately 10:45 a.m. in the area of Marlborough and Fifth St. After receiving several conflicting calls throughout the day, our investigators have confirmed that a pellet gun was discharged, what we believe was a pellet gun, was discharged at that time by the suspect."
The Chief went on to say that the CCPS Forensic team found pellets in the area of Marlborough and Fifth streets that indicate that someone was firing at a building.
There were no reported injuries.
"The safety and well being of our community is our number one priority and our officers have been working diligently to protect members of the public throughout the day," said Chief Aikman said.
CCPS is searching for one male suspect, however, they say that they have received many conflicting reports as to the physical description of the suspect, but do not believe there was more than one individual involved.
Residents in a large area of the City were asked to remain in their homes while police searched for the suspect. Residents living between Nick Kaneb Dr. and Cumberland Ave. and between Second St. and Ninth St. were asked to remain in their homes.
"At the time it was reported to us, we did not know the location," said S/ Sgt. Chad Maxwell to reporters. "In situations like this we want to err on the side of caution."
There were roughly 40 officers deployed in the search area, some going door-to-door to check on residents. S/ Sgt. Maxwell said that there were officers training on Tuesday who were called in to help with the search.
Maxwell explained that CCPS is still searching for the suspect and did not rule out the possibility of that person facing charges.
"We believe that walking in the downtown core with some form of firearm on this person's back can be construed as an offense and is very serious in nature," he said.
Chief Aikman said that one occurrence during the day that delayed the investigation and tied up police resources was the fact that they received a hoax call about shots being fired in a different part of the city.
Aikman said that the police received only one hoax call and they were investigating this matter with the possibility of laying charges.