A Meriden, Connecticut, resident will face felony charges after a conflict with a neighbor led to a police standoff during which she slipped knives under her apartment door and threatened to shoot police and other residents, then blow up or burn down the building.
Police said Regine Rivers, 48, who lives in the condo complex at 775 West Main Street in Meriden, began arguing with another resident over a parking dispute around 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Emma Guzman-Valentin identified herself as Rivers' target. She said Rivers parked over the line Thursday, leaving no room for Guzman-Valentin's car, then ignored a note Guzman-Valentin left asking her to park properly.
Rivers confronted her today.
"She started cussing and bad talking, and talking about how I messed with the wrong one and she's from Chicago," Guzman-Valentin explained. "I was like, 'Listen, it's no big deal. I just need you to move your vehicle. You don't need to take it further, but if you want to take it further, let me know.'"
She went home and returned 15 minutes later with a kitchen knife, according to Guzman-Valentin.
"She comes out with a knife, a kitchen knife, and threatened me with her knife," Guzman-Valentin said. "She was pointing the knife at me like she wanted to stab me with it."
Guzman-Valentin said Rivers had a drink in her other hand.
"She was intoxicated. You could tell, because she even admitted herself that," Guzman-Valentin said. "she's like, 'Look, I am drunk, and I ain't moving no car, and that's why I got a drink in my hand and I'm walking.'"
According to Guzman-Valentin, Rivers began walking down West Main Street with the knife and drink in tow.
Residents were frightened and called the police. By the time authorities arrived, Rivers had gone back inside her apartment and turned up the music on her stereo, making conversation near impossible, police said.
A SWAT team and hostage negotiation team were called in, and residents were evacuated from the complex. While authorities were attempting to communicate with Rivers, she began slipping knives under the apartment door, according to police.
Police said she threatened to shoot authorities and other residents of the complex and told them she was armed with a 9mm handgun. She also threatened to blow up or burn down the building.
"She proceeded to threaten the cops, that she had a gun, she was going to make a bomb and she was going to blow up the place," Guzman-Valentin said. "It just got crazy. It got really out of hand."
Because Rivers refused to turn down the volume on her stereo, police called CL&P to cut the power to the building so they could communicate with her.
Authorities managed to contact Rivers' boyfriend, who was not home at the time. Police said he was cooperative and told them the couple had lived in Meriden for only two weeks after moving from out of state.
Rivers eventually opened the door and was taken into custody, police said. Authorities brought her to the hospital, where she will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. It’s not clear when she will be discharged.
"I'm stunned, because in all my years, never have we witnessed anything like this," Guzman-Valentin said. "This same lady approached me last week in a loving, nice manner, and then for her all of a sudden to threaten me in this fashion – it blew me away. It blew me away and it scared all of us."
Charges are pending, but police said Rivers will face both felony and misdemeanor counts. Her bond has been set at $500,000.
No firearms have been recovered.