Man escapes standoff with Lexington police

An hours-long standoff Thursday between Lexington police and an armed man thought to have barricaded himself in a townhome ended when police learned the man was no longer there.

The incident began Thursday afternoon with a hit-and-run car crash, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

After a man hit another car, he drove off, she said. The victim whose car was hit followed the man to a townhome complex on Osage Court in the Woodhill neighborhood.

The man reportedly stepped out of his car carrying a high-powered rifle, Roberts said. He went into a townhome at 251 Osage Court and refused to come out.

After the victim called police, officers evacuated neighbors and closed roads. The emergency response unit, the police department's tactical team, was on the scene within an hour.

After more than three hours with no contact from the man, ERU officers entered the house. They found the rifle, but the man was not inside, Roberts said.

The man likely slipped out before the ERU team arrived, she said. Roberts said police have a description and a possible identity of the man, but no details were immediately released.

The ERU team is an elite team of officers which handles hostage situations, civil disturbances and other hazardous incidents.

Several streets, including Osage Court and parts of Woodhill Drive, were blocked off while officers attempted to negotiate with the man, which interrupted school bus service in the area.

Guardians had to pick up dozens of students from Breckinridge Elementary School, Crawford Middle School, Edith J. Hayes Middle School and Henry Clay High School who lived on bus routes that had been blocked off.