DOVER — Authorities say they do not know if the Dover man involved in an eight-hour standoff shot himself or was felled by police.
Fire Chief Richard Driscoll said his department evacuated about 100 residents from the Fairfield Gardens apartment complex and a residential area along Plaza Drive Monday night. Driscoll said residents were initially told to “shelter in place” while police secured the area around 7:30 p.m.
State and local police are investigating the matter, which began after a woman, who was taken to the hospital, reported being assaulted. Soon afterward, police exchanged gunfire with a man in the hallway of the 1 Northway Circle apartment building.
No police or other residents were injured.
Police have not released the identities of the man or woman involved in the incident. The standoff ended around 4 a.m., according to Police Capt. Bill Breault.
An autopsy is scheduled for today, according to Assistant Attorney General Janice Rundles.
“We cannot confirm until then whether he died by his own hand or from a shot fired by police,” she said in an email.
Most of the apartment residents were able to return to their homes early Tuesday morning after the man, who held police off for more than eight hours, was found dead.
Driscoll said when it became apparent that the incident would be prolonged, officials decided to activate an emergency shelter at the McConnell Center, a nursing home-rehabilitation center.
“The residents were great — they understood the need to evacuate,” Driscoll said of those who lived at Fairfield Gardens.
Once the shelter was ready, Driscoll said residents of all ages, including many families, were transported to the McConnell Center via Recreation Department vans and First Student buses.
He said many people took advantage of the cots and blanket to get some sleep during the long night.
Recreation Director Gary Bannon said his department, which oversees the McConnell Center, opened up the emergency shelter around 11 p.m. to provide a safe place for residents to receive refreshments, get some rest and await information.
“A number of the residents contacted relatives and friends once they arrived and were able to find accommodations with them and left the shelter. Many more, around 40 people, had to stay and ultimately prepared to sleep here in one of the several rooms set up with cots and designated as sleeping areas,” Bannon said.
Driscoll said once police gave the “all-clear” around 4:30 a.m., most people chose to return despite the early hour.
The incident remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, according to police.