Wheaton Mall Barricade Suspect in Custody

A 37-year-old male is in custody after a four-hour standoff with police at the JC Penney Store at Westfield Wheaton mall.

After allegedly stealing a watch at the store, Christopher Lawrence barricaded himself in a fitting room where he was armed with a knife.

Officers from MCPD District 4 arrived on the scene at approximately 10:30 a.m. Lawrence reportedly kept the police at bay with his knife.

In the meantime, in order to allow the officers to manage the situation, the store was evacuated.

Negotiators from the County Emergency Response Team responded to the incident and attempted to persuade Lawrence to turn himself in.

Around 2:30 p.m. SWAT sent pepper balls into the barricaded fitting room, allowing them to take Lawrence into custody without injury.

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

Lawrence was taken to Central Processing where he is expected to face charges of first-degree assault.


Photo courtesy NBC4

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