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Standoff with St. Petersburg SWAT team ends safely

ST. PETERSBURG — A domestic dispute involving a man with a shotgun ended safely Sunday afternoon nearly eight hours after it began.

Police officers on Sunday morning closed streets for blocks around the home at 200 Park St. S, and a SWAT team later surrounded it.

About 2:30 p.m., however, an unarmed Norman Rex Brewster, 74, came outside and greeted officers without any trouble, police spokesman Mike Puetz said.

After interviewing Brewster and family members, police decided not to arrest him but instead forward the case to the State Attorney's Office to determine whether to file charges.

As investigators sorted through details, they came to blame the delay in resolving the incident on a night of gin drinking by the man, whose family said he also had a penchant for taking sleeping pills, Puetz said.

Police tried but initially failed to communicate with the man inside, despite running sirens, calling out to him on a megaphone and detonating a percussion grenade outside his house.

At any time, 50 or more personnel worked at the scene, Puetz said. Neighbors gawked in a nearby park.

But the man and his wife apparently slept through the attempts before he finally answered the phone about 2:30 p.m.

"To say this was an expensive operation is probably accurate," Puetz said.

The episode began about 7:15 a.m., when police took an emergency call from Brewster's stepdaughter, Jessica Brewster, 25. She complained that her stepfather had threatened her and her boyfriend, Gregory Jones, 19, pointing the shotgun and demanding they leave the home.

Police found them outside the home with the stepdaughter's children, ages 3 to 8.

Myrtle Fay Brewster, 79, remained of her own accord inside with her husband. Police said she was unharmed, and they did not consider her a hostage.

She came out of the house safely shortly before the man surrendered.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@tampabay.com.

Standoff with St. Petersburg SWAT team ends safely 02/26/12 [Last modified: Sunday, February 26, 2012 10:46pm]
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