Westland City Hall explosives threat scares already shaken community

By Bisi Onile-Ere, Local 4 Reporter
Published On: May 13 2013 05:01:16 PM EDT
Updated On: May 13 2013 06:41:02 PM EDT

The Westland Chief of Police says a gunman, who walked into City Hall and demanding to see the mayor, claimed he was strapped with five pounds of explosive.

WESTLAND, Mich. -

It was a frightening situation Monday at Westland City Hall.

A man was claiming to be strapped with explosives as he headed straight for the mayor's office. The building was evacuated. One employee was taken hostage but she eventually escaped.

"The employee of the City Hall was able to escape out a back door. At that point we had the subject inside," said Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik.

Refusing to leave the municipal building, the man, who police say is in his 40s, was in a stand-off with officers. The main roads near the City Hall were shut down. Several schools in the area were placed on lockdown as a precaution.

The man surrendered to officers Monday afternoon. They forced him to remove all of his clothes before they arrested him. No one was hurt.

It all happened while the city laid to rest one of its heroes -- Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke. He was killed in a fire last week.

Read: Emotional goodbye: Fallen firefighter honored

"To have something like this happen on a day like this, it's a lot for one community to absorb," said Mayor William Wild.

Police swept City Hall and found no explosives. Investigators have not said why the man in custody wanted to see the mayor. He told someone at City Hall that he had a military background.

"We're just happy that everything ended safely. Today really should have been about firefighter Brian Woehlke. Unfortunately this happened. From here we're going to move on and see what kind of charges we have," said Chief Jedrusik.

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