A Potomac man died early Friday morning, following a seven-hour armed standoff with Montgomery County Police.
Altaf S. Zartdinov, 63, of the 7900 block of Foxcrest Court died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound 4:50 a.m. Oct. 8. A handgun was found near his body.
Police officers and members of the Montgomery County Police Emergency Response Team responded to the call at 9:40 p.m. The Emergency Response Team comprises officers with special, additional training.
“They’re the ones that are highly trained in entering into high-risk situations,” said Officer Julia Gilroy, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Police. Specially trained police negotiators were also dispatched.
The man threatening to kill himself was alone in his house. During the standoff, officers did not enter the building. They entered only after they heard an apparent gunshot from inside the home, and found the man dead.
Gilroy said that all suicide threats are treated with extreme caution. “If someone is truly determined to kill themselves, they’re probably not too concerned about killing someone else,” she said. But many potential suicides can be diffused. “A lot of people make suicidal threats,” she said. “They’re in a crisis there’s a lot of things you can do to get them out of it.”
The call to police came from a family member, Gilroy said. It is not clear whether the family member had been at Zartdinov’s house and left or had spoken to him on the phone. Zartdinov made repeated threats to kill himself during the standoff as negotiators tried to convince him to put down the gun and surrender to police. His body will be taken to the State Medical Examiners Office in Baltimore for an autopsy.
GARFIELD L. BLAKE, a neighbor in the same block of attached houses, said that police had approached the site without lights or sirens and he was unaware at first that anything was going on. “I was actually leaving my place at about 10:45,” he said, and he noticed that the parking in front of the townhouses was darker than usual. Officers had either turned off or covered up the streetlights on the block.
“I heard a voice coming from across the parking lot that said ‘Get down, get down,’” he said. “I thought it was some kids playing. … At first I thought it was a paintball thing. You just wouldn’t assume that the police were there.”
But Blake spotted the officers in the bushes across the street, with handguns and rifles trained on the building. After speaking to the officers Blake said that he was allowed to leave.
“We drove right in between the building and where they were actually stationed,” he said. “Looking back, that was not the best thing to do”
Blake said that Tuckerman Lane was blocked off in both directions during the event. After leaving, he was not able to return to his house the following morning. Police investigators were still at the scene when Blake returned around 9 a.m.
“I’ve seen him many times,” Blake said of his neighbor, but the only interactions they had had were about parking spaces. The houses do not have assigned parking spaces, but residents tend to lay claim to the spot directly in front of their home. “My brother had a little discussion with him once or twice,” Blake said, but they moved their cars and the