Lakeland SWAT uses tear gas, robot in 12-hour standoff situation; suspect arrested

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 10:13:00-04

A Lakeland neighborhood was rocked by the sound of exploding tear gas canisters during a SWAT situation on Hollingsworth Creek Drive early Friday morning, officials said.

Lakeland police SWAT also used a robot to search the house for the man who has been in a 12-hour standoff with police from Thursday night into Friday morning.

At 6:41 a.m. Lakeland PD tweeted that the standoff was over and the suspect, Guerry Jason Wardell, 48, was taken into custody. No one was injured during the standoff. Wardell was found in the second floor bedroom hiding in a closet.

On Thursday night, Police officers responded to the 1600 block of Hollingsworth Creek Drive about 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Lakeland police spokesman Sgt. Gary Gross said.

They were checking on a man, who had been accused by his brother of hitting him with a baseball bat during a fight. The suspect, whose name has not been released, barricaded himself in the house.

Multiple tear gas canisters were shot into the house about 2:30 a.m. after several hours of attempted negotiations with the suspect. Then a robot with an attached camera was sent into the house.

Precautions were taken because the brother of the suspect told police officers his brother had several weapons in the house, Gross said.

Police continue to investigate the incident.