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Loaded gun found next to stand-off suspect

Daniel Michel Choquette waits to get into a North Bay Police Service cruiser. A member of the service's Emergency Response Unit stands behind him.

Daniel Michel Choquette waits to get into a North Bay Police Service cruiser. A member of the service's Emergency Response Unit stands behind him.

A loaded rifle was found next to a suspect arrested this morning following a stand-off at an apartment building at 392 Airport Road.

The stand-off led to two Ottawa-area men being taken into police custody.

No shots were fired
The North Bay Police Service’s Emergency Response Team and members of the OPP Tactical Response Unit and the OPP canine unit were called to the scene around 3:40 this morning after receiving a tip through Crime Stoppers.

No shots were fired, said North Bay Police Service spokesman Yvan Montcalm, and the incident ended peacefully.

Residents of the apartment building were evacuated to the nearby Davedi Club.

Jumping off
The two suspects have been identified as Daniel Michel Choquette, 31, and Michael Melvin Schmidt, 39.

Montcalm said Schmidt tried to escape by jumping off a third-floor balcony to a second-floor balcony and then onto the ground, but was immediately arrested by police when he landed.

Schmidt refused medical treatment and would not even get into a waiting ambulance, Montcalm said.

Choquette tried hiding from police in a car in the apartment building parking lot, but was also apprehended.

Montcalm said that's when police found the rifle.

Didn't break in
The suspects knew the person whose apartment they were in, Montcalm said.

“They were invited by a tenant in the building and they didn’t break in,” Montcalm said.

The tenant was subsequently assaulted by the men, Montcalm said, it’s not clear yet whether the tenant was known to police.

He was uninjured and was subsequently able to escape the apartment.

Montcalm added intoxicants or drugs may have been involved.

Serious volatile charges
North Bay Police Service Staff Sgt. Rick Sapinsky told reporters following the incident that "it’s a good morning for everybody here."

Sapinsky said police received a call early this morning that two individuals from the Ottawa area "wanted on some serious volatile charges" were armed and in the apartment building.

"A couple of our officers found the stolen vehicle that was associated with these people and we had our people contain the area of the building they were holed up in," Sapinsky said.

Turn themselves in
A source told that Ottawa police had contacted Choquette on his cell phone enroute to North Bay and asked that he and Schmidt turn themselves in.

Choquette declined, the source said.

The Ottawa Citizen reported today that Choquette told police during the cell phone conversation "I guess I'll see you--when you catch me."

Made easier
Following the incident Sapinsky went to the Davedi Club to explain the situation to the apartment building residents.
He thanked them for their cooperation.

"This is North Bay, and policing in this city is made easier because of people like yourselves," Sapinsky said.

He relieved much of the tension in the air by saying the suspects "aren't from North Bay."

Intimidation and death threats
Choquette and Schmidt were on the lam following a weekend incident in Ottawa during which a 40-year-old man was forced from his residence and taken to a pawn shop where two men demanded money and threatened him with a gun.

Ottawa police allege Choquette and Schmidt drove the man to his mother’s house following several hours of intimidation and death threats, and again demanded money. According to police, they fled in the victim's car when his mother dialed 911.

Victim of gun violence
The Ottawa Sun reports both Choquette and Schmidt have lengthy criminal records.

Choquette, who has 42 criminal convictions and is covered in tattoos, was the victim of gun violence in 1998 when he was shot in the abdomen following a dispute at an Ottawa apartment, Sun reporter Andrew Seymour reported this morning.

During a preliminary hearing against the man accused of shooting him, Seymour reported, Choquette said he was too drunk to remember who shot him before angrily lashing out at the accused.

"I'll see you in hell," Choquette shouted during the explosive outburst, pointing a finger at the accused, Seymour wrote.

Moments earlier, Seymour’s story stated, Choquette had demanded: "Look me in the eye you piece of s---."

Fraud and theft
Choquette's convictions include unlawful possession of an explosive device, several assaults, trafficking narcotics, break and enter, possession of counterfeit money and obstructing police.

Schmidt, who has 24 criminal convictions, Seymour reported,was sentenced to five years in prison in 1995 for an armed robbery in Edmonton. His other convictions include assault, assaulting police, possession of a weapon, fraud and theft over $5,000.

Choquette and Schmidt will soon face charges in North Bay, said deputy police chief Al Williams.

"They haven't been laid yet because our investigators are in the process of developing them," Williams said.