Leo Crockwell was arrested Saturday, after a weeklong armed standoff with RCMP in Bay Bulls, south of St. John's.

Police in eastern Newfoundland are investigating how a man was able to walk away from an armed standoff with the RCMP without being noticed.

Leo Crockwell, 55, appeared in provincial court Sunday on 16 charges, including five attempted murder charges laid after RCMP officers were shot at during a weeklong standoff in Bay Bulls, just south of St. John's.

Crockwell was arrested Saturday, but not at the house where he had refused to speak with police negotiators. Instead, he was found in a house on the outskirts of St. John's.

RCMP were expected to answer questions Monday about what happened in the final hours of the standoff, although the force cancelled a scheduled news conference.

Police used noisemaking machines and flooded Crockwell's house with water on Saturday in an effort to end the standoff, not knowing that Crockwell had not only slipped out, but had hitchhiked out of Bay Bulls toward a store 23 kilometres away in the Goulds neighbourhood in southern St. John's, where he bought cigarettes.

He was later found at a house on Petty Harbour Road, which runs between Petty Harbour and St. John's.
Important details not released

RCMP announced Crockwell's arrest Saturday afternoon, but did not immediately disclose critical details — that Crockwell was found well beyond his house, and that the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which polices St. John's, had actually made the arrest.

"I can confirm the introduction of water, the introduction of noise and the introduction of losing the heat, taking and turning off the power into the residence, has resulted in the safe arrest of Mr. Crockwell today," RCMP Sgt. Boyd Merrill told reporters Saturday.

It took six hours for the force to acknowledge that Crockwell was found at another location.

The RCMP had originally said that "community information" led to Crockwell's arrest, but did not elaborate.

That information turned out to be a tip called into the RNC in St. John's.

"The communication centre received information from the public in relation to Leo Crockwell," said RNC Const. Suzanne FitzGerald.

"As a result of the information that was provided, the communication centre's technician immediately notified the RCMP and an RNC street patrol officer was dispatched to an area of Petty Harbour Road."

The RCMP have pointed to water-damaged audio and video monitors to explain how Crockwell was able to escape from the house and Bay Bulls itself. RCMP cruisers had shut down access to roads around the green house where an armed standoff began on Dec. 4, after Crockwell had allegedly threatened members of his family.

Crockwell is expected to appear in court Tuesday for a bail hearing. The Crown is opposing his release on grounds that Crockwell has a history of mental illness.

During an appearance at provincial court on Sunday, Crockwell said the charges against him were "trumped up so much I can't believe."