UPDATE: Early morning standoff in Penn Yan ends in suicide

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
Penn Yan Police Dept.

PENN YAN — At 3:23 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, Penn Yan Police were called to a residence on East Elm Street for a report of a subject with a gun threatening to shoot people. 

Penn Yan Police Chief Thomas Dunham reports that on arrival, police secured the immediate area. They learned that the subject was armed with a shotgun and had allegedly barricaded themselves in the bathroom of a multi-unit rental house. Officers were able to make contact with all of the other residents in the building and safely evacuated them. Police also contacted neighbors in the area and had some evacuate and others hold in place while they set up a perimeter.

Penn Yan Police Chief Thomas Dunham

Dunham says the officers made numerous attempts to contact the barricaded person but received no response. Officers eventually made entry into the apartment and found the individual suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Penn Yan Volunteer Ambulance Corps were already on scene and provided immediate medical assistance. The Yates County Sheriff’s Office and Penn Yan Fire Police provided assistance at the scene. 

The subject was taken by ambulance to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital where Dunham reports they succumbed to their injuries. Dunham says the PYPD is continuing to investigate the matter.

UPDATE: Penn Yan Police Chief Thomas Dunham has provided the following report on Wednesday morning's events as they transpired:

"The call came in at 3:23 a.m. and we were on scene until sometime past 10 a.m. The call was that there was a person with a gun threatening to shoot people.

"There were three other apartments in the building (four total). We also evacuated one neighboring household as well. One of the individuals evacuated from the apartment building where the incident happened was on oxygen. Our officers got the person out and that person was held in an ambulance through the duration of the incident. We went to eight other houses and had them hold in place. We had E. Elm St. shut down from Basin Street to Hamilton Street and we also shut down traffic on Benham St. to avoid cars coming out onto E. Elm.

"We made several attempts to contact the individual via a megaphone but never received any response back. The individual did not possess a phone so we were unable to attempt contact in that way. We entered a neighboring apartment and set up a listening post around 5:30 a.m.. Due to observations at the listening post, I made the decision to have officers enter the apartment sometime around 7 a.m.  We had two ambulances on scene standing by throughout the incident.

"When the officers entered the apartment, they found the individual in the bathroom with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Officers took immediate actions to try to save the individual, and the ambulance crews were in the apartment in under a minute. The officers and ambulance crews did everything they could in a very difficult situation. The individual was transported to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital where he died due to the self-inflicted gunshot wound.  

"This was a very unfortunate incident. We never want to see anyone die and always strive to protect all life. I believe the officers on scene, the dispatchers, the Penn Yan Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the medical staff at Soldiers & Sailors Hospital did everything they could.  After the incident, I personally notified the individual's mother of what happened. I know this family is hurting right now and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."