Crisis negotiators talk to gunman in Guilford, police say

GUILFORD — Crisis negotiators were in a standoff for several hours with an armed man with a family member inside a Guilford home on Wednesday, according to the Guilford Police Department.

“Our crisis negotiators are trying to speak with this gentleman and see what his concerns are and see if we can resolve this peacefully,” according to Guilford Police Chief Warren “Butch” Hyatt.

Deputy Chief Christopher Massey said the man was inside the Fitch Hill Road home with a family member.

As of 7:45 p.m., police were still at the residence with the assistance of members of the South Central Regional SWAT team and officers from Madison, Branford, North Branford and East Haven Police Departments. All roads in the area are blocked and there is a heavy police presence, according to Hyatt.

Around 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, police and firefighters responded to a house fire on Route 80. While there, they observed the resident “acting erratically,” according to Hyatt.

As the house burned, the resident left the property and “firefighters saw he had a gun,” Hyatt said.

“Now that person has gone to another family member’s home near Fitch Hill Road and is currently in the house there,” Hyatt said.

The police department said the his facebook page that Hemlock and Fitch Hill Roads are closed, along with part of Great Hill Road. Police are asking residents and motorists to avoid the area.

The incident at one point placed the Melissa Jones School in a shelter-in-place, police said.

Guilford Public Schools Superintendent Paul Freeman said the school district halted all outdoor activities at Melissa Jones and Baldwin Middle Elementary Schools “out of an abundance of caution.” All school doors remained locked, as always, and none of the schools entered a lockdown condition, Freeman added.

“If we were looking for someone, if they were on the run, we would have taken them into custody,” Hyatt said.

The school district has been in communication with parents of students who live near police activity and “has made alternate arrangements for the dismissal,” according to Freeman.

All public schools in North Branford have entered a phased lockdown due to an incident in Guilford. School District Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker said the lockdown was lifted at the end of the school day for dismissal. All afternoon activities were expected to go ahead as planned, he added.

Police said they would update their Facebook page as more information becomes available.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.