Patrons of Toad 'n' Turtle say standoff situation was 'calm'
Patron of Airdrie’s Toad ‘n’ Turtle Pubhouse & Grill, located at 1900 Market St SE., got more than they bargained for on Jan. 12.
At around 2 p.m., the lunch crowd was surprised when two alleged thieves climbed the stairs to the outdoor patio of the pub.
What followed was a four-hour standoff during which restaurant-goers were kept inside the building while police tried to locate the suspects, who were hiding on the roof.
Patron Tim Bolton and his wife were at the restaurant during the incident.
“It was a little unsettling at first, but as the day went on it was OK,” said Bolton. “We didn’t see the bad guys at all, (although) we could see the police.”
As members of municipal enforcement, the RCMP, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Airdrie Fire Services dealt with the situation, customers and staff at the restaurant were being reassured by officers.
“They kept us informed without really telling us a lot of detail, they were very reassuring that everyone was safe,” said Bolton. “(Police) were taking every precaution and reassured us they have been through this many times and we will get you out of here just as soon as you can.”
Bolton said he did hear a loud bang around 2:45 p.m., which turned out to be a controlled detonation set off by the ERT.
“Everyone remained calm,” he said.
The four-hour standoff resulted in two Calgary men being arrested.
The incident started earlier in the day in Calgary when Airdrie RCMP received information from the Calgary Police Service about the men, who were driving a white GMC Sierra pickup and had allegedly committed multiple crimes in Calgary.
At around 1 p.m., the Airdrie detachment received a number of 911 calls of a single vehicle collision on the off-ramp from northbound Highway 2 to Yankee Valley Blvd.
The vehicle lost control and crashed into a light pole, knocking it over.
An officer was on scene in less than a minute, just in time to see the two male occupants fleeing from the scene on foot towards the King’s Heights shopping area.
Several nearby construction workers helped the officer confirm two suspects had climbed onto the roof of the Toad ‘n’ Turtle Pubhouse & Grill.
Officers quickly surrounded the building and secured the upper floor to ensure the safety of the patrons inside.
“We wanted to make sure everyone was safe because of the implied threat (to patrons),” said Corp. Darrin Turnbull, RCMP Southern Alberta media relations officer, adding he couldn’t confirm weather or not the suspects were armed.
Four hours later, after failed attempts to communicate with the suspects, members of the ERT and a RCMP Police Service dog conducted a physical search of the roof area and safely located both suspects.
The two suspects were hiding on the roof of the business.
Both suspects were arrested and handed over to the Calgary Police Service.
“The RCMP response was quick and decisive and it had the safety of the community as the No. 1 priority,” said Turnbull.
The pub opened for business as usual at around 7 p.m.