Police standoff at hospital ends peacefully

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Ryan J. McEwen By Jennifer Thomas Ryan J. McEwen By Jennifer Thomas
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- An armed suspect who barricaded himself inside the emergency room at Phoenix Baptist Hospital surrendered peacefully early Monday morning.

Police have identified the suspect as Ryan J. McEwen, 25. He was booked for criminal damage and disorderly conduct with a weapon.

According to the Phoenix Police Department, the incident started at about 2 a.m., when a white man in his 40s was acting erratically in the emergency room of Phoenix Baptist Hospital, which is located at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. An employee had called 911.

Police say the man was armed with two hunting knives and a .45-caliber handgun.

By the time officers arrived at the hospital, the man had used trash cans to barricade himself in a bathroom in the lobby of the emergency. He allegedly pulled one of the knives.

Officers were able to get the knife away from the man, but he then pulled out a handgun and started waving it around, police said.

At that point, police backed off and the standoff began.

After hours of negotiations, the suspect finally gave up and surrendered to police without further incident at 6 a.m.

According to Phoenix Baptist Hospital CEO Dan Jones, the suspect was not a patient at the hospital.

Police believe the man is a transient and was looking for shelter. It's not clear why he barricaded himself in the bathroom.

Jones also said nobody inside the hospital was injured in the course of the incident.

"Once we were notified, we initiated our incident command and began coordinating the transfer of patients into the appropriately safe areas and organizing the movement of our employees throughout the hospital appropriately to ensure that the police department had the safe area they needed to resolve the situation," Jones told 3TV's Javier Soto.

The hospital's emergency room was closed while the standoff played out, but has since reopened.

Part of Abrazo Health, Phoenix Baptist Hospital is a 221-bed acute care facility that was established in 1961. It employs more than 900 people.