Suspect in Rehoboth standoff to undergo mental health evaluation

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REHOBOTH, Mass. (AP/WPRI) — A North Attleboro man who held police at bay for five hours outside a Rehoboth convenience store and claimed to have a gun and allegedly threatened to blow up the gas pumps briefly appeared in court on Friday.

Benjamin Kimball, was scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on a variety of charges in connection with Thursday’s standoff outside the Cumberland Farms on Route 44, including attempted arson of a gas station and making a false bomb threat.

The standoff started before 7 a.m. Police said Kimball took a cordless phone from the gas station and told an arriving officer to back off because he was going to blow the place up. He then barricaded himself in his car.

At one point, police said Kimball tried to ignite a gas hose with a lighter, but fortunately, the pumps had already been shut off.

During the standoff, officers believed Kimball had a gun in his waistband. It turned out to be a video game controller. No other gun or explosives were found.

A court officer wheeled Kimball into court Friday but he was not formally arraigned.

Court clinician Dr. Arthur Pearson outlined Kimball’s history of mental troubles, saying he’s had psychiatric treatment since he was in his teens.

“He has struggled with thoughts of taking his own life up to the very near present,” Dr. Pearson explained.

The doctor told the court he found Kimball to be unfocused and said there could be an underlying mental health condition. According to court filings, police suggested that it’s untreated bipolar disorder.

Police Chief James Trombetta said the 38-year-old talked about how people with mental illness should get professional help.

The judge made a decision to have Kimball evaluated at Bridgewater State Hospital. A hearing is set for next month to determine if he should be held without bail as a danger to the public.

Trombetta said Kimball has no prior record.

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