Vernon Ridge Apartments

Vernon Ridge Apartments is located at 700 Follin Ave. in Mount Vernon.

MOUNT VERNON – A two-hour standoff Tuesday evening between Mount Vernon police officers and a man threatening violence in his north-end apartment complex ended peacefully.

Jake T. Cullen, 29, was taken into custody after barricading himself in his apartment on Follin Avenue. Cullen, a tenant at Vernon Ridge Apartments, had allegedly threatened to harm management staff over an eviction notice, Det. Matt Haver said.

"No one was hurt," Haver said. "Everybody's OK."

The incident began at 5:27 p.m., Haver said, when Cullen called the police station about the eviction notice. During the phone call, the situation escalated.

"We were getting reports that he had firearms and everything," Haver said, "and that he was going to do major harm."

As police units made their way out to the apartment complex, Cullen barricaded himself in his residence. Officers arrived and established a perimeter, Haver said, before attempting to make contact with Cullen.

The negotiation process took nearly two hours. Haver declined to comment on the details of the conversation, including whether or not Cullen threatened to harm himself or others during it.

He eventually came out of the apartment on his own volition and was taken into custody without incident, Haver said. No one was injured.

“We were just telling him we wanted to resolve things peacefully,” Haver said, “and he just came out.”

Officers were unable to locate any firearms or other weapons at the scene, Haver said. There were no shots fired Tuesday night.

Haver said the MVPD felt its response was appropriate, however, given the threats allegedly made by Cullen.

“We treat every call like there’s a weapon involved until we know differently,” Haver said. “At that point, we didn’t know if he had a weapon or not, but he was making claims. So for our officers’ safety, for the public’s safety, and for the suspect’s safety, we have to treat it with as much caution as we can.”

Haver said "a majority" of the MVPD's officers ended up at the scene, due to the seriousness of the incident and the shift change that occurred midway through. The department's Emergency Service Team (ESU) was not activated.

Cullen was transported to the Knox County Jail after the incident. Haver said the MVPD expects he will be charged with inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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