SWAT Team Deploys Pepper Balls to End Four-Hour Standoff at Wheaton Mall

“37-year-old male is in custody following a four-hour standoff inside of a department store on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.

Christopher Lawrence has been arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a watch from the JC Penney store at the Westfield Wheaton Mall and barricading himself inside of a fitting room, armed with a knife.

Officers from the Montgomery County Department of Police 4th District were dispatched to the location at approximately 10:30 a.m., and Lawrence reportedly threatened the officers with the knife.

The Montgomery County Police Emergency Response Team and negotiators responded and attempted to persuade Lawrence to leave the fitting room and turn himself in.

The store was evacuated to allow officers to safely manage the incident.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., SWAT deployed pepper balls into the fitting room and Lawrence was taken into custody without injury.

Lawrence, who has no known address, was evaluated on scene by Montgomery County Fire Rescue and has been transported to the Central Processing Unit, where he is expected to be charged with first-degree assault.

No officers or store employees were injured during the incident. JC Penney will remain closed for the day.”

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