MAHOPAC, N.Y. - After a six-hour standoff on Saturday afternoon, police arrested a 28-year-old Mahopac man and charged him with a felony and a litany of misdemeanors.
According to Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari, one of his officers was in the area of 50 Putnam Dr., a few blocks from Lakeview Elementary School, investigating a prior domestic incident involving resident Alexander Booth. Cazzari said that at around 2:19 p.m. the officer heard what he believed to be a gunshot come from the residence and requested backup. When additional officers arrived, Cazzari said Booth was observed in his doorway acting in an “agitated state” before returning inside his garage apartment and barricading himself inside. As a safety precaution, officers evacuated the neighboring houses and alerted the Putnam County Emergency Response Team and Negotiation Team.
Cazzari said that negotiators made contact with Booth and after six hours of discussion they were successful in convincing him to surrender without incident.
“Thanks to their tireless efforts no civilians or police were harmed,” the chief said.
Booth was subsequently arrested on a felony warrant issued by Town Justice Thomas Jacobellis stemming from the previous domestic incident. Booth was charged with second-degree burglary, a class C felony; criminal trespass, a class A misdemeanor; second-degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor; second-degree aggravated harassment, a class A misdemeanor; and petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Carmel Town Justice Court on Saturday night.
The criminal trespass charge, police said, stemmed from an incident in which police say Booth broke into his estranged wife’s place of residence. She had previously filed for an order of protection against him.
Cazzari said that at the conclusion of the incident, no weapons or ammunition-feeding devises were found. He said police had taken several guns away from Booth after a domestic abuse incident back in September. Cazzari said the noise the officer heard was likely the suspect smashing up his residence in anger. The chief said numerous false social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms promoted the idea that the suspect had a weapon. Several postings claimed that the incident was prompted by red-flag laws. Such laws prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.
Cazzari told Mahopac News that word of the standoff spread across the country thanks to social media and people began “spoofing” the Carmel Police Department’s phone number causing the line to overload and render police unable to take calls.
“Because of these idiots, if you were having a heart attack or something, you wouldn’t have been able to get through and could have died,” Cazzari said.
Mahopac News also received several Facebook messages demanding it investigate the police’s actions and look into why they weren’t taking phone calls during the incident.
Some posts also encouraged members to go to the scene and help Booth resist the police.
“We had two people show up who stood by the barricade and began shouting at the police,” Cazzari said.
One post even claimed that Booth had been shot and killed. All of those postings turned out to be false or misleading, Cazzari said, and only served to exacerbate the situation.
The Carmel Police Department was assisted by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety’s Special Response and Negotiation Teams.