Ithaca Voice senior reporter Anna Lamb contributed reporting and photography to this article.

Update (3:59 p.m., June 2): Ithaca Police have now published a press release regarding the activity at the CARS building earlier Wednesday afternoon.

According to the law enforcement narrative, police responded to the lobby of CARS for a report of a man “wielding a knife inside the public lobby of the building.” IPD’s press release further states that a man was “threatening people inside with the knife and destroying property.”

Inside the building, after other occupants were evacuated, police stated that the subject was “contained, contacted and was in a visibly distraught and impaired mental health condition,” and still had the knife and was making threats, IPD claimed.

The suspect, who was not named by police, was then taken into custody after a prolonged dialog. They were transported to a nearby hospital for a mental health evaluation. Police were assisted during the incident by Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, Tompkins County Mental Health Outreach workers and New York State troopers.

Original Story:

ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca Police briefly blocked off a portion of West State Street Wednesday afternoon due to a police operation at the Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services (CARS) facility at the corner of West State Street and North Plain Street.

Officers were seen holding open the front door of the facility with guns and TASERs drawn, as well as a K-9 unit on-hand. The front door of the facility had been covered by a board that read “Hail Satan.” Police could be heard yelling into the building around 12:30 p.m., attempting to coax the subject into ending the situation peacefully. Eventually, it appears the situation was resolved without further incident, and police had left the scene around 2 p.m., though details surrounding its conclusion haven’t been released by IPD yet.

It is not currently known if the suspect was armed or not—attempts to reach media contacts at Ithaca Police Department and CARS had not yet been returned. Ithaca Police and Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office deputies were both on scene, including the SWAT team.

Police have not yet confirmed the status of the suspect or what led to the situation, but were confident enough about the safety of the situation that they canceled the SWIFT911 Alert telling the public to avoid the area. It had been in effect for about 15 minutes at the time of its cancelation at 1:12 p.m., though police had been in the CARS building and establishing a perimeter since about 12:20 p.m.

CARS employees were evacuated from the building and told to wait outside behind the facility, and that they had been there for over an hour. A CARS spokesperson on the scene, Brad Walworth, said he couldn’t comment on the situation yet, but that staff had been told to leave the building and wait.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at