Standoff over cat ends when elderly woman falls asleep

Casey Grove

A woman who said she was upset over a pet cat was hospitalized late Tuesday after a standoff with police at a senior citizens housing complex off Peck Avenue in Muldoon, Anchorage police say.

Police said the woman, who at one point aimed a handgun at a neighbor, refused for several hours to come out of the Centennial Village residence.

The woman apparently took some medication during the standoff and fell asleep, according to police Lt. Dave Parker. Police entered the residence and found her and a cat, Parker said.

Parker said the woman was taken to a hospital and could later be charged with assault. "First we take care of physical issues, then mental issues," he said.

The woman apparently showed up earlier at a neighbor's door talking about a cat. She pointed the gun at the neighbor, then returned to her residence, police said. Police SWAT team and snipers responded to the scene and deployed outside the building.

Parker said the woman at one point during the standoff threatened to fire through the door. The woman has had mental health problems before, police said, and they were for a time uncertain if there was a real cat involved.

"The whole idea is to protect her life and everybody else's life," Parker said during the standoff.

Residents of nearby living areas were evacuated and gathered in other buildings.

Kathy Collins, who lives in the complex, said she was attending Bible studies when police entered and said they had to leave. They didn't say why.

"We were scared," Collins said. "They offered us pizza. What's a pizza? I want to go home."