Suspect in Rehoboth standoff to undergo psychiatric evaluation

REHOBOTH, MA (WHDH) - A suspect who was taken into custody after a standoff that lasted nearly five hours in Rehoboth Thursday appeared in court Friday.

According to police officials, 38-year-old Benjamin Kimball of North Attleboro threatened to blow up a Cumberland Farms on Route 44 just before 7 a.m. The store is on 232 Winthrop St., which is at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118.

According to police, Kimball drove to the store and bought a Bic lighter at around 6:30 a.m. He then asked to make a call and allegedly told the Cumberland Farms manager that he had a gun and threatened to shoot her. Police said Kimball took the store’s cordless phone, dialed 911 and then hung up.

Police responded to the area and saw Kimball heading toward his Saturn SUV. Police said Kimball then told the officers to back off, saying he had a gun and a bomb and was going to blow up the store.

At one point, the police chief said Kimball took the lighter and tried to set fire to the gasoline pump, which had already been shut off. During the five-hour standoff, police said Kimball made numerous threats to blow up the gas station. Kimball’s girlfriend Melissa Fancher said he may have been doing this to make a statement about mental illness.

“Most likely he did this to make people aware that the mental health system is screwed up. There’s no help for the mentally ill,” said Fancher.

Just before noon, officers used a flash grenade and beanbag bullets and were then able to take him into custody after he rammed his car into armored vehicles. Kimball was taken away in an ambulance to Morton Hospital.

Inside Kimball’s car were personal items, including a lampshade. Police said he was never carrying a gun, either; he had an X-Box game controller in his possession.

Kimball faces 10 charges, including attempting to set fire to the gas station. He is due back in court next month after he spends 20 days under psychiatric observation.

 

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