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Man surrenders after standoff in Lawrenceville home

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

andrew russell | tribune-review


Pittsburgh SWAT team leaders on Saturday night negotiated a peaceful resolution to an hours-long standoff with a man believed to be mentally disturbed and heavily armed inside his Lawrenceville residence, a police official said.

Gary Wright, 42, of the 5200 block of Duncan Street surrendered to police about 7:50 p.m., more than three hours after family members called authorities with concerns about his mental health and to ask that he be involuntarily committed, said police Cmdr. RaShall Brackney.

"He is not facing any criminal charges," Brackney said. "At this point, it's obvious he needs mental intervention more than he needs police intervention."

Authorities took Wright to UPMC Presbyterian for a preliminary medical evaluation before likely transferring him to Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, also in Oakland, she said.

An emergency call arrived about 4:30 p.m. from Resolve Crisis Network, a mental health hotline and center run by UPMC, Brackney said. It was attempting to serve a warrant for involuntary commitment, she said.

"We received information the suspect was heavily armed with a 9 mm and a Desert Eagle," or semi-automatic handgun, Brackney said.

Police also believed Wright could have been under the influence of psychiatric drugs and alcohol, she said.

Police searched the residence after taking Wright into custody, but no weapons were found, she said.

"I'm just glad it ended without any violence whatsoever," said neighbor Bill Huffman, 34.

Two years ago, Sharpsburg police officers used stun guns to subdue Wright during an altercation, Brackney said.

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