Police were called to Empress Street near Ellice Avenue around 2:30 p.m., where a man armed with a bat was reported to be acting erratically in the area.
When officers arrived police say the man was inside a nearby retail store on Ellice Avenue where he had doused himself with lighter fluid.
Police spokesperson Const. Jay Murray said the business was busy with customers at the time.
“Officers had a dual role at the beginning of this incident, they had to not only focus on the individual but also focus on getting everyone out of that store at the same time,” he said.
“The male was agitated and officers spent 25 minutes trying to convince him to put down that bat, but, really, were not successful.”
That’s when Murray says the man snorted a substance he said was meth and asked officers to shoot him.
He also also pulled out a lighter and motioned as if he was going to light it, all while still covered in the flammable liquid, Murray said.
“There’s obviously a potential for this to escalate,” Murray told 680 CJOB Thursday.
“If this individual had chosen to light himself on fire, officers would have been forced to deal with a very dynamic and dangerous situation — not only for that person — but the business as well.”
With help from the tactical support team Murray says officers used a less-than-lethal projectile to take the man safely into custody a short time later.
The man wasn’t seriously injured, but was taken to hospital due to drug intoxication, Murray said.
Police say meth is believed to have played a role in the incident.
A 31-year-old man from Thunder Bay, Ont., was arrested Wednesday and charged with possession of a weapon and mischief under $5,000.
The man has been detained in custody.
–With files from Diana Foxall