UPDATE: A 23-YEAR-OLD man has been taken into police custody following an incident in Thornton this afternoon. East Bank Road is expected to be reopened shortly.
EARLIER: A grieving man sparked an armed offenders call-out at Thornton yesterday afternoon.
East Bank Road was closed to traffic, Thornton School was in lockdown, and nearby residents were asked to stay inside and lock their doors.
A police media spokeswoman said members of the Armed Offenders Squad were assisting police in responding to reports of a man, possibly with a firearm.
East Bank Road resident Carl Watson, who lives next to the primary school, said when he looked outside to see what was happening there were two police officers with guns right outside his home.
“They told me to go back inside and to ensure my dog stayed inside,” he said. “They said it was a domestic problem and the road is blocked off.”
Mr Watson said the grandson of an elderly and crippled neighbour who had died the night before had apparently become upset following the loss of his grandmother.
“She died last night, and he’d lived with her for years, caring for her,” he said.
“There’s now an armed police man behind my conservatory.”
Mr Watson said he’d been asked to leave his home, but he had nowhere else to go. He was then urged to stay away from the northern side of his house.
Shortly after 3pm, Thornton School, used social media to inform parents “your children are safe”.
The school was told by police to keep the children inside and, at 3.30pm, parents were advised that all children remaining at the school would be taken to the Edgecumbe Fire Station where they could be picked up.
Armed police are currently at the property and the situation is believed to have now been resolved.