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Man in custody following 10 hour standoff

Posted at 8:32 AM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 19:52:50-05

Tucson police have taken a man into custody after an 10-hour standoff outside of a TPD substation. Tucson Police have identified the suspect as 37-year-old Thomas Mills Jr. and charged him with one count of "terrorism" and one count of "hoax," which are both felony charges. 

Update: Suspect at the Westside substation has been taken into custody without incident. pic.twitter.com/NCe0ERkamb

— Sergeant Pete Dugan (@SgtDugan) January 7, 2016

TPD said the man was threatening to detonate his recreational vehicle outside of a substation showed officers a can of gasoline and a hammer and says he has propane tanks and guns.

The man is now hanging out of his RV window waving around a claw hammer & yelling at TPD's hostage negotiation robot according to @SgtDugan

— Christina Myers (@ChristinaKGUN) January 6, 2016

According to police spokesman Sgt. Pete Dugan, the man drove into the substation parking lot in an RV. Around 7:30 a.m., he tried to talk to get into the building but it was closed. He then pushed the intercom button to talk to officers inside. Before officers came out, he went back into his RV, where he remained.
 

New details on threatening man at TPD substation: man tried to come in before 7:30, used call box when it was closed but didn't make sense

— Christina Myers (@ChristinaKGUN) January 6, 2016

 
Officers tried to contact the man, but he wouldn't respond. He called 911, telling operators he has propane and weapons. He said he would blow up the RV. He has held up a gas can, but police have not seen any weapons.
 

New details on threatening man at TPD substation:officers went outside to talk to him, but he went into RV in parking lot, been there since

— Christina Myers (@ChristinaKGUN) January 6, 2016

New details on threatening man at TPD substation: man says he has weapons and propane, plans to blow up RV in substation parking lot

— Christina Myers (@ChristinaKGUN) January 6, 2016

 
Dugan said about 60 police personnel were on scene, including the bomb squad, a mental health support team, the Tucson Fire Department and the Pima County Sheriff's Office.
 

The mental health unit from @Tucson_Police is also here to help the man who is threatening to blow up his RV in TPD substation parking lot

— Christina Myers (@ChristinaKGUN) January 6, 2016

 
Police evacuated the substation, a nearby convenience store and a mobile home park, Dugan said.
 
The suspect was taken into custody without incident following an almost 11-hour standoff with police.
 
 
Police first encountered the man Monday when he tried to file a complaint at the substation but was told he had to contact Internal Affairs. The man did not make a big scene, but he also did not leave for a while, Dugan said.
 
 
Dugan says they wanted to end the situation peacefully, so officers sent a robot with a camera. Dugan says that Mills Jr. had set fires in the RV, so the Tucson Fire Department put a hose inside to make sure nothing caught on fire.
 
"That was a big concern for us, especially with possible explosives," Dugan said. "He was also holding a knife, and put it up to himself several times like he was going to harm himself."
 
TPD also released pepper spray balls, but when that did not get Mills out the SWAT team moved in and he was taken into custody.
 
Mills Jr.'s stepfather, Doug Hoover,  he suffers from schizophrenia. Hoover says Mills started having mental health issues years ago, but never displayed violent behavior. He would only start "crazy conversations" if he stopped taking his medication.
 
"I think my father's passing created a trigger for him because I think the original trigger was his mother's passing, and he loved and respected my father," Hoover said. 
 
Hoover says he recorded a message for the police that they played for Mills to coax him out. He told him that the police were the "good guys." Hoover says Mills never vocalized any distrust for police, but he has had issues with authority, like doctors.
 
Mills Jr.  has had run-ins with law enforcement before. Court records show he has some minor misdemeanors including criminal trespassing, assault, theft and drug-related charges. 
 
Hoover was happy with how TPD handled the situation, and he hopes his stepson will now get the mental help he needs. 

When police detectives searched the RV after Mills Jr. was taken into custody, they found a knife and enough propane "capable of a large gas explosion," but did not find any automatic weapons or tactical gear like Mills Jr. claimed he had in the RV.