No hazardous material found after arrest, hotel evacuation in Ottawa

Ottawa police say they found no hazardous materials following the overnight evacuation of an east-end hotel and the arrest of a man wanted on a warrant issued in Nova Scotia.

Ottawa police say they found no hazardous materials following the overnight evacuation of an east-end hotel and the arrest of a man wanted on a warrant issued in Nova Scotia.

The Ottawa police say their investigation at the hotel is completed and there are no concerns for public safety.

The matter is being handled by the RCMP in Nova Scotia, they said.

The 42-year-old man was the subject of a Canada-wide warrant following an overnight investigation linked to the evacuation of two areas in Halifax where police found a large quantity of chemicals they have yet to identify.

He was taken into custody at the Chimo Hotel after Ottawa police found the suspect’s vehicle, RCMP Cpl. Greg Church said in Halifax.

Church declined to identify the man who was arrested. But the manager of the man’s ex-wife said police told her the suspect’s identity.

Nick Furris said Shannon Miller, a former Olympic gymnast for the U.S., was told by police that her ex-husband, Christopher Phillips, was arrested in the incident.

“Upon hearing the recent news surrounding Christopher Phillips, my prayers immediately go to the safety of those around him,” Miller said in a statement.

“I’m thankful that the brave men and women of the Ottawa police department and other law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend him and defuse the situation.”

Church said one of the two evacuations that were ordered Tuesday remained in effect in the Grand Desert area of Halifax because a “large quantity of chemicals” were found inside a cottage.

He declined to specify how many chemicals were discovered.

Church said police have not identified the chemicals and are trying to determine what they would be used for, adding that an explosive disposals unit, forensic identification experts and hazardous material crews have been called in to investigate.

RCMP investigators from Nova Scotia are travelling to Ottawa to interview the suspect, Church said.

In Ottawa, Const. Chuck Benoit said there’s no information suggesting there was a threat to national security or a connection to terrorism.

Benoit said the Ottawa police investigation began Tuesday at about 10:15 p.m. and a perimeter was established around the eight-storey hotel which was evacuated.

“The information that we received that it was a threat, a suspicious male that was at the hotel,” Benoit said, describing the investigation as “complex.”

He said guests had to be evacuated quietly and officers had to be careful not to alert the suspect, who was checked in to a room on the sixth floor of the hotel, while the evacuation was taking place.

“We are very fortunate that that went on so peacefully, and a lot of co-operation from the public that were inside, as well as the employees.”

Police closed all streets surrounding the hotel and asked the public to avoid the area. Benoit could not say how many people were involved in the Ottawa evacuation, but the Chimo Hotel website says it has 256 guest rooms.

The investigation in Halifax began after RCMP were alerted to a suspicious package in the neighbourhood of Cole Harbour, eventually leading to the evacuation of homes in that area on Tuesday morning.

The packaged was determined to contain hazardous materials, but not explosives, the RCMP said on their Twitter account.

Hours later, the Mounties ordered another evacuation in the Grand Desert area.