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Armed man allegedly threatened officer in Seabrook standoff

Union Leader Correspondent

March 13. 2018 9:08PM


SEABROOK — A distraught Seabrook man surrendered to police Tuesday morning after allegedly barricading himself in his home with a gun and threatening an officer who tried to help.

James Pontoo, 53, of 33 Walton Road, was arrested without incident and charged with felony criminal threatening and reckless conduct following the standoff, which began just after 6:30 a.m. when police responded to the residence for a report of a man threatening to harm himself.

According to police, officer Daniel Henderson and officer Zach Bunszel were among the first to arrive on the scene.

Henderson was allowed inside and was informed that Pontoo was located in a bedroom on the second floor.

Police said Henderson opened the bedroom door and found Pontoo with a gun to his head and making suicidal threats.

Henderson made several attempts to de-escalate the situation, but police said Pontoo refused to drop the handgun.

When Henderson attempted to step further into the bedroom, police said Pontoo threatened him. At that point, Henderson backed out of the room and took a position of safety as other Seabrook officers arrived and evacuated other residents from the home, police said.

Police established a perimeter around the home and closed a portion of Walton Road.

Residents in nearby homes were asked to shelter in place while police worked the scene and the Seacoast Emergency Response Team (SERT) — a regional tactical team — responded to assist with perimeter safety and negotiate with Pontoo to get him to surrender.

Pontoo surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody about three hours later.

He is being held at Rockingham County jail after refusing the services of a bail commissioner. He will be arraigned today at 9 a.m. in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Deputy Police Chief Brett Walker commended the officers for their handling of the situation.

“Their actions in the house helping to get the other residents out and setting up a perimeter went a long way to the final resolution, which was the subject safely taken into custody,” he said.

Walker said Tuesday’s nor’easter actually helped police because there was less traffic on the roads and there was no school. Seabrook’s elementary and middle schools are located at the end of the street, meaning bus routes would have been disrupted if school were in session during the incident.

Police also thanked the various agencies that responded with assistance in the potentially dangerous incident, including SERT, police from Kensington, Hampton Falls, and Salisbury, Mass., and the Seabrook Fire Department.

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