Suspect surrenders in Portsmouth police standoff

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — A Portsmouth man surrendered to police early Monday morning after a more than nine-hour standoff at his home.

The incident started at about 9 p.m. Sunday. Police responded to Boyds Lane after it was reported that the suspect – James Lawrence – had threatened two women with a firearm.

One of the alleged victims, a 46-year-old woman from Portsmouth, told police she and her friend – Lawrence’s girlfriend – were attempting to get the girlfriend’s keys inside Lawrence’s home when he reportedly loaded a firearm and threatened the two women.

Lawrence, 39, appeared to be intoxicated and threatened to harm anyone who messed with him, according to police.

Once officers arrived, Lawrence barricaded himself inside the home and refused to exit.

A Rhode Island State Police tactical response team responded to the scene and were able to negotiate a peaceful surrender at about 6:30 a.m. Monday.

“He also made some threats to police,” said Portsmouth Police Chief Tom Lee. “He endangered his neighbors’ safety, he completely disrupted his neighbors here. We’re glad he did come out, though, and it resolved peacefully.”

Lawrence is set to be arraigned Monday on a charge of felony assault with a dangerous weapon.

Officers blocked off Boyds Lane from the Mount Hope Bridge to Anthony Road during the incident, but all roadways have since reopened.

Rep. Dennis M. Canario, D-Portsmouth, released a statement thanking police for their efforts in negotiating a peaceful resolution.

“I’d like to personally thank the brave men and women of law enforcement who peacefully resolved this extremely tense and potentially dangerous situation this morning in Portsmouth. At a time when tensions between law enforcement and the public are at an all-time high across the country, it is reassuring to know that here in Rhode Island, our law enforcement officers handled this situation with level-headed clear thinking that produced a resolution without anyone, the victims, the suspect, or members of law enforcement, being hurt in the process.”