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Standoff Ends With Arrest near McCook after Four Hours


Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), working with the McCook Police Department and Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office, have arrested a North Platte man following a standoff of more than four and a half hours south of McCook.

The incident began Monday evening at approximately 8:30 p.m. when McCook Police Officers twice pursued the same vehicle, a Jaguar, on Highway 83 in McCook. During the second pursuit, the vehicle entered the ditch and stopped. The driver then fled on foot toward several trailer homes. At approximately 8:40 p.m., troopers and sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter around the area and witnesses identified which home the suspect had entered.

The suspect was identified as Merrill Johnston III, 36, of North Platte. Johnston was wanted on a warrant from the United States Marshals Service and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for drug and weapon charges. The NSP SWAT Team was activated and responded to the scene.

Troopers made repeated commands for Johnston to exit the home, but he refused for several hours. At approximately 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, Johnston exited the home and was immediately taken into custody. He was lodged in Red Willow County Jail for the active warrant. Additional charges are pending concerning the incidents prior to the standoff.

Nobody was injured during the operation. Law enforcement was assisted by the Red Willow Western Rural Fire Department.