CORNWALL, Ontario – Police were at a property near St. Lawrence College Wednesday morning, guns drawn said witnesses, and arrested an individual, while a Pitt Street restaurant was searched by officers.
The incidents are connected to a multi-service police weapons investigation known as Project Harden.
A “hold and secure” was instituted at the college, but was lifted at around 11 a.m., said college campus dean Don Fairweather.
Meanwhile, police investigated another crime scene at Cedars On Wheels on Pitt Street.
Instead of grabbing an early lunch at the Pitt Street eatery on Wednesday morning, one local resident was shocked by the broken glass scattered across the front entrance and heavy police presence in and around the building.
Several officers could be seen in the modestly-sized restaurant taking photographs and marking evidence. In an unusual move police cleared the restaurant of its signage, while also removing many of the contents of the eatery including cooking materials.
According to a post on the Cornwall Community Police Service Facebook page at 1:17 p.m., there were no gunshots fired in the City of Cornwall during either incident, contrary to speculation on social media.
As a precautionary measure, Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School (CCVS) on Sydney Street was also put under a hold and secure at the same time as SLC.
The Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry branch of the Ontario Provincial Police are the lead agency in the matter, but so far have not released details on the operation.
A press conference is scheduled Thursday morning in Long Sault where police will issue details on Project Harden.
The hold and secure at the schools were ended at about 11 a.m.
“It lasted about an hour and 15 minutes,” Fairweather said, but would not get into specifics concerning the police operation. “We got a call from the Cornwall Community Police Service asking us to implement the hold and secure.
“There was no imminent risk for anyone at the college.”
Fairweather said police were conducting operations in the area and made the request of the college.
Witnesses saw an individual lying on the ground, being arrested by police officers.
At around the same time officers, dressed in SWAT-team like uniforms, entered a nearby home with their weapons drawn.