Credit the staff of the YMCA with helping Hannibal police locate Richard King of Hannibal, who allegedly was carrying a gun near the middle school on Tuesday.
“We got a tip they were looking for someone and my staff happened to catch someone slipping in our back door, and went and notified the police. The police apprehended the gentleman and carted him off without any fuss or any fight,” said Pete Friesen, executive director of the YMCA of Hannibal.
Friesen admitted being proud of how his personnel dealt with the situation.
“They (staff) handled it very well. They didn’t try to be heroes. They alerted the authorities who fortunately were here already looking for the gentleman,” he said.
Receiving special commendation was Nathan Waters, a member of the Y’s wellness staff.
“He (Waters) saw him (King) in the room. He stayed there by the room while someone else went and got the police. He just made sure that if he (King) did run, he was going to point the direction he ran,” said Friesen.
This was a unique situation for the Y.
“This was the first team we ever had to go to this,” he said. “As far as standard protocol, we’re still working the bugs out because we had people in the pool that we were trying to get out and our laundry room is right by the pool. There was only so much we could do in such a small amount of time. The protocol is when we get contacted we don’t let people in, we don’t let people out. We just try and clear the area.”
Among those inside the Y when it went into lock-down mode was Meta Gunn of Hannibal.
“They called over the intercom for everyone to leave the premises,” she said. “I was in the locker room when they told us. There was a lady and me, we were still dressing so we didn’t get out in time.
“I was hoping they would have locked our door from the pool area in so nobody could have come back into the locker room, but they didn’t. I went to lock it but there’s no lock.”
Friesen praised Y members for their responsiveness.
“I felt people reacted very well to what was going on, even though they didn’t know exactly where to go. Those that needed to moved to the locker room,” he said. “The staff was able to move them in there without a lot of noise, a lot of confusion and a lot of questions. The membership got out without challenging them (staff members) any. I appreciate what the members did there. They were doing what they were told. Of course they liked to know what was going on afterwards.”
Page 2 of 2 - Confusion might have been more likely later in the day, according to Friesen.
“Five o’clock would have been a real headache. Around 1 o’clock it wasn’t too bad,” he said.
Friesen also praised HPD officers.
“The police were so responsive,” he said. “They handled it beautifully without any hubbub and without disturbing our membership.”