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News Story
Updated: 05/02/2014 04:13:41PM

Negotiator helps end standoff peacefully

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SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Punta Gorda police engaged in a standoff with a resident late Monday into early Tuesday on Olympia Avenue. It started as a traffic stop for driving the wrong way on Olympia.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY PUNTA GORDA POLICE DEPARTMENT
A 61-year-old Punta Gorda man held this semi-automatic handgun to his head inside his car in downtown Punta Gorda late Monday. He was talked into surrendering early Tuesday after talking to Punta Gorda Police Department crisis negotiator Lt. Joe King for more than three hours.

SUN FILE PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Punta Gorda Police engaged in a standoff with a resident last month on Olympia Avenue. It started as a traffic stop for driving the wrong way on Olympia. The man later surrendered, and was involuntarily committed under the Baker Act.

By ADAM KREGER

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PUNTA GORDA — A 61-year-old local man was being evaluated at Bayfront Health Punta Gorda this morning after his involvement in an armed standoff near U.S. 41 and Olympia Avenue.

Michael Smith, of the 300 block of Harvey Street in Punta Gorda, was driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the downtown area shortly before 9:45 p.m., according to the Punta Gorda Police Department. An officer stopper him, and heard a gunshot from inside the vehicle. Smith allegedly then put the gun to his head. The area was secured, with help from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. PGPD Crisis negotiator Lt. Joe King talked the man into surrendering more than three hours later. The incident ended after 1 a.m. Charges are pending an investigation.

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