LOCKPORT – A rifle-toting man walked into the emergency room of Eastern Niagara Hospital on Saturday morning and ran off with drugs after demanding them from a nurse, police said.
Hours later, after a manhunt through the surrounding streets, police found a “person of interest'' and questioned him into the afternoon.
Just before 6 p.m., police said they had charged Adam D. Kibler, 24, of Levan Avenue, with first-degree robbery. Kipler, who lives practically across the street from the hospital, will be arraigned Monday morning in City Court.
While police did not say what drugs the man ran off with, radio transmissions indicate he grabbed six doses of the opioid Dilaudid in intravenous form.
The robbery began shortly before 5 a.m., when the man appeared in the emergency room at 521 East Ave. carrying two rifles, one in each hand, Police Chief Michael Niethe said.
“He also made a comment that he was armed with a bomb,” the chief said.
“I can tell you he demanded drugs. That's all I really know,'' Niethe said during a morning news conference. “He did make off with some, but I don't know exactly what he made off with. I'm not sure [hospital officials] know. We're looking to recover the stuff he took.”
A nurse called the Police Department, and when officers arrived, the robber was still in the building.
“They saw him emerge from the emergency room. They saw him run and turn north through the parking lot. He dropped his weapons and he dropped his backpack. So we recovered all that stuff. In the backpack, there was an item that appeared to be a bomb, Niethe said.
The State Police bomb squad was called, and the device in the man's backpack turned out to be “inert,” Niethe said.
An officer, seeing the suspected gunman as he ran, fired at him but apparently missed.
“One of our officers fired two shots at the suspect, and we believe he was not hit,” Niethe said.
Niagara County sheriff's deputies secured the hospital's perimeter and sent out a mass call to landline phones in the area to tell residents to stay inside. Barricades were put up to block streets to traffic as the Niagara County Emergency Response Team searched nearby backyards. A police helicopter circled overhead.
Police checked “tool sheds and underneath things to make sure that there was no one still hunkered down in the area,” Niethe explained later.
By about 10 a.m., police began breaking down the barricades outside the hospital after it was clear the gunman was not in the area.
News Staff Writer Matthew Spina contributed to this report.