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Man in custody after hours-long standoff in South End

Dozens of police and EMS vehicles lined Albany Street late Tuesday morning.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

A seven-hour standoff in the South End ended late Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of a man after law enforcement surrounded him on an athletic field near Albany Street.

Officers shouted “get down” as the man was taken into custody around 5 p.m. at Emerson College’s Rotch Field.

Ernest Fields, 47, of Boston is facing several firearms charges, said Sergeant Detective John Boyle, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

Boyle said there was a warrant for Fields’s arrest charging him with armed robbery with a gun and threats.

Police recovered a loaded firearm at the scene, Boyle said. Fields is on the Police Department’s Most Wanted list.


The suspect was apprehended after police used “distractionary devices” to subdue him, Acting Boston Police Commissioner Gregory Long said.

“The suspect was also struck by less lethal rounds” of ammunition than bullets, Long said during a press conference.

The suspect then dropped his firearm and was taken into custody.

The man was taken by Boston EMS to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

No police officers were injured in the incident, which started at 9:41 a.m., Boyle said.

Officers on patrol spotted the suspect, who was wanted on a warrant charging him with armed robbery. The officers stopped the man, who then ran onto the turf field, Boyle said.

Police officers, SWAT team members, and hostage negotiators maintained a dialogue with the suspect throughout the standoff. The suspect accepted food and water throughout the day, Long said.

Long praised the work of law enforcement officers who responded to the scene.

“It’s been a long day. With patience, time, and restraint … this reached a peaceful ending,” Long said.

“It was taxing on our hostage negotiators as well as our SWAT teams. You’re doing everything you can to bring a situation to a peaceful ending. I’ll tell you, it’s the training that they all go through — it was on full display here today,” Long said.


“When someone has a firearm in their hand and no one gets injured, that’s a win,” he said.

The peaceful resolution capped a dramatic day that drew scores of law enforcement, closed some streets, and evacuated an apartment building on Harrison Avenue.

Through the course of the standoff Tuesday, the gunman could be seen pacing back and forth across the field, sporadically waving what appeared to be a handgun in the air.

A woman who identified herself as the gunman’s half-sister, Lashena Jones-Butler, waited behind a line of police tape on Albany Street, at times screaming for her brother to calm down.

She said her brother had been homeless for three or four years and had struggled with mental health issues since the deaths of his mother and brother.

“Ever since then he’s been rebelling and going downhill,” Jones-Butler said. “I just hope to God this will get him some help. I mean today he is literally screaming for help.”

She was hopeful he would be committed to a mental health institution under Massachusetts law’s Section 12 at the end of the standoff.

“Besides this bad stuff he’s gotten into, I mean he’s been in jail and has been in some nasty fights, he’s a smart person and I think a good person,” Jones-Butler said.

Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this story.


Boston Police responded to reports of a man with a gun in the South End. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker. Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.