CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Sheriff’s Office reports that an emotionally distraught, armed man has come out of the woods and has been taken to an area hospital to be evaluated.
Deputies say they originally responded to a home on Heise Road around 4 p.m. to check on the welfare of a 26-year-old resident, but the man went into a large wooded area, more than 100 acres, behind his home with a weapon and they were concerned for his safety.
Authorities made contact with the man, who they say never made any threats towards anyone and was cooperative. But as a precaution, law enforcement agencies established a perimeter and evacuated residents on the east and west side of Heise, as well as the north side of County Road. In all, between 15 to 18 homes were evacuated.
The incident caused the Eastern Hills Mall to go into lockdown around 6 p.m, but around 20 minutes later, the lockdown was lifted.
The man, who talked to deputies for around five hours, left the woods around 8:30 p.m. He had told deputies he simply wanted to be left alone.
Erie County Sheriff’s Office Police Services Division Chief Scott Joslyn said, “With the collaborative efforts between the Erie County Sheriff’s, the New York State Police and the FBI, the negotiators were able to talk to this 26-year-old male and convince him that we were here, and we were just merely concerned for his safety and well being. And at that time, he walked out to us.”
“We’ll do an investigation, and see where that takes us. Right now, we’re just happy to report that everybody can go about business.”
At this time, the man is not facing any charges. He was transported to an area hospital for an evaluation.
Deputies say their investigation continues.