Beatrice man ignites home with fireworks after standoff with police

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A man is in custody after Beatrice Police say he barricaded himself inside the basement of a home with a crossbow, a knife and fireworks.

Authorities said it happened just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday near North 17th and High Streets in Beatrice.

Police said they tried to communicate with the man, but he was having a mental health problem and they were unable to get him to come out of the house.

A SWAT team was brought in to make contact, and that’s when officers smelled gas coming from the house, according to Lt. Jay Murphy of the Beatrice Police.

“At that time, they thought that maybe he had ruptured the gas line, so we called Black Hills out to try to shut the gas off, which they did,” Murphy said.

Neighbors were asked to evacuate their homes after the gas leak, and Murphy said the SWAT team then broke windows to ventilate the basement.

That when police say one of the man’s fireworks set the place ablaze.

“Once that happened, we saw smoke coming from the attic of the house, and we made the decision we needed to go in and try to get the subject out of the house,” Murphy said.

He said the SWAT team was able to get inside and get the man out without anyone getting hurt, while the Beatrice Fire Department took over to put out the flames.

“Obviously, there has been some fire and water damage to the house,” Murphy said. “An investigation was conducted with the Beatrice Fire Department and the Nebraska state fire marshal, and fireworks were located in the basement.”

Officials were inspecting the house until around 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

Police said the man did fire the crossbow at the basement door at some point, but it’s not clear whether it was during the standoff.

The suspect was taken into custody and according to police is currently being evaluated at the Lincoln Crisis Center.

His identity or what charges he may be facing have not been released.

Beatrice Community Development said the home is now condemned after a number of hazards and toxic materials were found inside.

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