Five-hour standoff in Columbia ends peacefully, suspect arrested

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | 2:09 p.m. CDT; updated 8:01 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

COLUMBIA - A five-hour standoff Tuesday night between police and a man who allegedly hid a bomb in a fourplex house ended without incident after the man surrendered.

Sgt. Mike Krohn of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said John Quehl, 51, was being charged with a prohibited weapons felony, domestic violence, and unrelated outstanding misdemeanor warrants.

At 8:32 p.m., the Boone County Fire Protection District responded to a call from a man who claimed he’d discovered explosives in a unit at 4317 Ludwick Blvd. The man told authorities that after discovering the explosives, he put them in a plastic bag and hid them in a TV cabinet.

The explosives, which the Fire Protection District said consisted of gunpowder and a substance that could be C-4 packed into two plastic tubes, were removed by a bomb squad member in full bomb protection gear.

Law enforcement then received a report that the man who had allegedly made them was in the house and had probably been hiding there the whole time. Just after 10 p.m.,, authorities began trying to contact the man using a loudspeaker, asking him to speak with officers over the phone or to step outside and turn himself in. The man did not respond and locked himself in a bedroom in the building.

The Boone County Emergency Response Team was called in to manage the situation, and the Columbia Police Department and SWAT team were called in to assist.

Just after 3 a.m., after nearly five hours inside, the man walked down the steps and turned himself in to police.

“It ended without incident when he wanted it to,” Krohn said. The bomb squad’s robot, which is operated by remote and can send pictures back to the operator, searched the unit along with authorities. No more explosives or weapons were found.

The fourplex house and two nearby buildings were evacuated after authorities received the first call. Boone County Fire Protection District Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp said the explosives were taken to a safe location and will be examined further today.

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