Jeffrey D. Nutting, Town Administrator
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Franklin Police, Fire Respond to Call for Suicidal Male, Area Briefly Evacuated
FRANKLIN — Police Chief Stephan Semerjian and Fire Chief Gary B. McCarraher report that the Franklin Police and Fire Departments responded to a call today regarding a man who was threatening harm to himself.
Responding units found a man, with a gasoline can, threatening to harm himself. Taking into account the safety of the neighborhood, a perimeter around the man’s home was briefly evacuated, including the nearby Davis Thayer Elementary School. No one was hurt, and the man was soon taken into custody without harm coming to him.
Police and Fire units responded at approximately 11:30 a.m. to a residence on School Street after receiving a report from Riverside Mental Health Services that one of its patients made threats to harm himself and others.
Upon arrival, the man, a 43-year-old Franklin man whose name is not being released at this time, displayed a gasoline can and began to pour liquid inside his house and out a front window. He also threatened to cut the main natural gas line at his home and seek to blow up the house.
A Franklin Police officer, who lives in the neighborhood, knows the man and was able to start a dialog with him over the phone. Eventually, the man came out a rear door but hesitated and started to turn back toward the house. At that time, fearing he may harm himself or ignite the spilled gasoline, officers deployed less lethal 40 mm rounds, one of which struck the man in the leg and brought him down. Officers then took him into custody.
“This was a measured, patient response by police and fire personnel who worked successfully to ensure that nobody got hurt or killed today,” Chief Semerjian said. “Mental health preparedness is a major part of modern policing, and we need to be ready for any kind of situation.”
The man was transported by the Franklin Fire Department to Milford Regional Medical Center for physical and mental health evaluations.
The incident lasted approximately 40 minutes. During that time, in line with standard procedures during a potential natural gas incident, a 300-yard perimeter around the home was evacuated, including the elementary school. Students and staff were allowed back inside once officials gave the “all clear.”
“We want to thank our residents for their patience and understanding today as we worked to ensure safety at and around the scene,” Chief McCarraher said. “Thankfully, this situation had a positive outcome for all, and hopefully this individual will get the help he needs.”