Police are locked in a standoff with a man holed up inside a residential property in Oxford city centre and have told the public to avoid the area after a shootout.
Officers are negotiating with the man inside the building in Paradise Square following an exchange of gunfire with armed police. Paradise Square, Paradise Street, Castle Street and Norfolk Road have been closed.
Armed police were initially called at 1.15pm to reports that a man had access to a firearm, Oxford Mail reported.
Supt Joe Kidman, the Oxford local policing area commander, told the newspaper: “People in Oxford will notice an increased police presence in the area while officers are dealing with the incident, which is contained and taking place at a residential property.”
South Central ambulance service said it was treating a patient for non-life-threatening injuries as part of its support of the police operation.
Residents of Paradise Square said police had stopped them returning to their homes. “I heard about five gunshots and there was an armed response,” one told Oxford Mail. “Flats have been evacuated and police were trying to talk someone down from their balcony.”
Janet Borgerson was in the nearby Malmaison hotel when she heard “explosive cracks” she initially thought were fireworks, before another series of loud bangs. “Again, I thought the second round were firecrackers,” she told the Press Association. “I noticed hotel bar staff ushering people inside.”