Cops cuffed a man who caused an hours-long shutdown of parts of Atlantic Avenue on Tuesday morning, after he barricaded himself inside a nearby Court Street building claiming to have a gun — which police later discovered was an imitation pistol.
Officers booked the suspect — whom a cop described as emotionally disturbed — shortly after 2 pm, on the eighth floor of the office and residential building between State Street and Atlantic Avenue that he locked himself inside. Prior to apprehending him, authorities cordoned off three blocks of the avenue between Boerum Place and Clinton Street as they investigated the threat.
Cops transported the man to a local hospital following his arrest, according to a Police Department spokesman, who said those streets remained blocked off as of 2:30 pm.
Authorities responding to the incident also barred the Atlantic Avenue entrances to some nearby buildings, including the YMCA at 225 Atlantic Ave., whose patrons cops escorted out through a rear entrance on State Street after locking the facility’s main entrance on the avenue around 9 am, according to a witness who declined to give her name.
Police also closed the main Court Street entrance to the Trader Joe’s store near Atlantic Avenue, according to an employee, who said shoppers continued to browse its aisles as chaos unfolded outside.
“The freaky thing about it is everybody acting normal, even though there’s a guy across the street with a gun,” said Dominique Cortes. “Everybody’s more concerned with getting their groceries than getting shot.”
The drama in fact made for an ideal shopping experience, according to one Downtowner, who claimed he’d never seen the normally bustling grocer so blissfully barren.
“It’s completely calm and empty,” said Marc Easton. “There are no lines, the aisles are clear, it’s not your typical Trader Joe’s experience.”