By CRAIG McTEAR
A LONE gunman kept police at bay for almost four hours in a dramatic standoff at Mullaway yesterday.
Woolgoolga police initially responded to reports at 11.03am that the 53-year-old had barricaded himself in a house in Ocean View Road and that he had a firearm.
Additional police were deployed from throughout the district, along with heavily-armed officers from the State Protection Support Unit and police negotiators.
None of them were taking any chances, wearing bullet-proof vests throughout the emergency.
Alarmed residents watched on as wave after wave of police vehicles and officers streamed into their normally quiet street.
Senior police established a command post not far from where the man was bunkered down, and sealed off the road to keep the public safe.
A few anxious moments came at 12.22pm when a shot was fired from inside the house, possibly into the roof, but word came through that the man was okay and was still talking to negotiators.
Police gradually took up strategic positions around the home and the yard, and about 2.40pm, the man surrendered.
Police seized firearms from the scene.
The man remained in custody late yesterday as police continued their inquiries.
Leanne King, a nurse who lives in the street, was home with her son and her friend's child as the tense situation unfolded.
"I saw the police cars blocking the road. I thought I should keep an even closer eye on the kids," Mrs King said.
"It's an exciting bit of action in downtown Mullaway, where nothing happens.
"I'm hoping it all ends well."
Another resident, who didn't want to be named, said all of the activity came as a bit of a surprise.
"We first saw the ambulance arrive and they said there was something going on," the man said.
"We thought it was best to let them get on with what they had to do."
Some locals scaled their roofs to get a better look at the action, while at least one gardener continued working away, seemingly oblivious to the hive of activity only 200 metres from his backyard.
Another resident described the alleged of- fender as 'a really a quiet, harmless guy'.