UPDATE: A five-hour police siege in Waratah West on Friday ended when a 38-year-old man was taken into custody by heavily-armed officers.
Solomon Siulai had been holed up in a unit on Morpeth Road since around 10.30am, after officers from Newcastle City Local Area Command attended the unit complex.
Earlier this week, police had issued an appeal for assistance in locating Siulai, who was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant relating to aggravated break and enter and steal from dwelling charges.
It’s believed Siulai “barricaded” himself inside the unit when officers arrived and refused to leave. A perimeter was established and authorities cordoned off all public access along Morpeth and Christo roads. Officers from the State Protection Support Unit were called to the scene and began a long stand-off.
Police, who were stationed behind their Bearcat armored vehicle, used a megaphone to try to bring the man out of the property.
Neighbours were trapped inside their homes, with police door knocking the area telling residents to stay inside.
Speaking to the Newcastle Herald, residents said police had called out to Siulai: “heavily armed police have the premises surrounded … come out the front door with your hands behind your head and we guarantee your safety”.
Around 4pm, officers surrounded the unit with police dogs and Siulai left the unit with his hands placed behind his head. Officers then brought him to the ground, and Siulai began to lash out and appeared to attempt to bite the officers. He was taken to Waratah Police Station and detectives later discovered a firearm and ammunition inside the unit.
Neighbours said they had noticed police activity in the area had increased in recent weeks and that police with video equipment had recently searched the unit.
Ellen Wilton, 22, said the drama unfolded outside her home.
“I came outside [unaware] to go for a walk and I had my earphones in, and they [police] were all staring at me and I couldn't figure out why,” Ms Wilton said. “I took them [the earphones] out and they were like: 'Get inside, get inside now quickly'."
After being locked inside the house for over an hour, Ms Wilton said police began to let residents know what was happening.
"They come to the door at around 12 to tell us what was going on. They were actually in our front yard hiding behind the tree. He [officer] actually apologised that I couldn't go for my walk earlier, and explained that there was someone inside with a gun and that we can't go outside.”
“At that point, I let work know I wasn't coming in.”
EARLIER: NSW Police have arrested a 38 year-old man after a stand-off of more than five hours at Waratah West today.
Police arrived on the scene just before 11am, where they began speaking with residents on Christo Road near the intersection of Morpeth Street. Residents were told to stay in their homes, as police vehicles and officers wearing bulletproof apparel converged on the area.
An Ambulance was requested to be on standby just before 11am, as riot officers arrived on the scene in a Bearcat.
A resident stuck in their home in the area told the Herald that police were using a megaphone to speak with a man holed up in a house on Christo Road.
Police told the man “heavily armed police” have the premises surrounded … “come out the front door with your hands behind your head and we guarantee your safety”.
The incident ended when Police took a man into custody. A reporter on the scene said the man was biting officers as he was escorted to a nearby police vehicle.
The man has been taken from the scene and police inquiries are continuing.
4.05pm: A nearby witness and a Herald reporter on the scene has said that a man is now in police custody. The man has been taken from the scene in a police vehicle. It is understood the man was biting officers as they escorted him into the police vehicle.
2.30: Stand-off now going for more than three hours. A Morpeth Street resident said police came to the door an hour ago to say that someone had locked themselves inside a house with a gun and that “we were safest inside”.
1.20: Another resident stuck inside a house in the area has told the Herald that police are using a megaphone to talk to a man inside the property. Police told the man “heavily armed police” have the premises surrounded … “come out the front door with your hands behind your head and we guarantee your safety”.
Police have set up roadblocks on at least four surrounding streets.
12.20: It is understood police have spoken with a resident on Christo Road to say that a siege is ongoing.
A resident said that he had been told by police that a person inside a house on Christo Road is armed, however the Herald has not be able to verify these reports with police.
12.00: A second witness has said that up to five police cars arrived on the scene at around 10am, and estimated that around six officers began speaking with residents along the street.
An armoured vehicle and riot police arrived on the scene shortly, the witness told the Herald. Another resident said that police appeared to be securing the area, but had not entered a house.
Christo Road is closed in both directions.
NSW Ambulance has said that police requested an Ambulance to be on standby just before 11am this morning.
11.55: Newcastle police have advised people to avoid the area near Morpeth Road. A witness has described seeing “full covered”, “SWAT” police officers arriving on Christo Road.
11.15am: A police operation is currently underway at Waratah, where residents have been told to stay in their homes. A resident has said that Christo Road has been closed.
Local police have said that several officers are currently on the scene.
A witness has estimated that between 15 and 20 officers were on Christo Road wearing bulletproof vests, telling residents to stay in their homes.
Details are emerging.