No hazardous materials found at Ottawa hotel following arrest: police
Marlene Leung and Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015 6:45AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 21, 2015 9:01PM EST
Ottawa police say no hazardous materials have been found at an Ottawa hotel where an arrest was made in connection with a “possible threat.”
On Wednesday morning, police arrested a suspect at the Chimo Hotel in Ottawa's east end, after the hotel was evacuated Tuesday night.
The arrest is linked to an RCMP investigation in the Halifax-area involving hazardous chemicals, police confirmed Wednesday.
"The man is being held on a Canada-wide warrant issued relating to charges in Nova Scotia," Ottawa police said in a statement.
Const. Chuck Benoit said an investigation at the hotel started at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, after officers received information about a "threat."
"The information that we received that it was a threat, a suspicious male that was at the hotel," he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Ottawa Police Insp. John McGetrick had called that threat "very concerning.”
"Based on the information we received, the threat – the substance – was very significant," he said.
Officers blocked off a large perimeter around the hotel, and tactical teams, including the HAZMAT team, were called to the scene.
Hotel guests were quickly and quietly escorted out of the building in what became a 10-hour police operation.
Christopher Phillips, of Halifax, was arrested without incident Wednesday morning at the hotel, outside his 6th floor hotel room.
Phillips is a 42-year-old American citizen who had previously worked as a biochemist with the U.S. Army. It is also believed that Phillips is an ophthalmologist, and previously studied law.
He had been married to former U.S. Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller, but the couple divorced in 2006.
In a statement, Miller said that “upon hearing the recent news surrounding Christopher Phillips,” her prayers go to the “safety of those around him.”
“I’m thankful that the brave men and women of the Ottawa police department and other law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend him and diffuse the situation without incident,” Miller said.
The statement also clarified that the marriage between Phillips and Miller was brief, and the pair did not have children.
It was Phillips' current wife who alerted police that her husband was headed to the Ottawa area, after he notified her of his plans to travel to the capital from Halifax. Phillips was travelling without a cellphone or clothing.
Police searched three locations in Halifax and found a "large quantity" of chemicals at a cottage on the outskirts of the city, they said.
One of the chemicals found is known as osmium tetroxide (OsO4). The chemical is volatile and can cause blindness and death.
On Monday night, police in the Halifax area found a suspicious package at a home in the suburb of Cole Harbour. Police said the package contained hazardous chemicals.
The discovery of the package prompted evacuations Tuesday in Cole Harbour and nearby Grand Desert.
Forensic investigators, hazardous materials crews and explosive experts were at the Grand Desert cottage on Wednesday to inspect the property and enforce an evacuation of the area.
"We've taken measures to ensure the safety of the public," Const. Greg Church, of Halifax RCMP, said. He confirmed there was a "large quantity of chemicals" on the property. Police have not determined what chemicals are at the site.
"We have an investigative team that is going to Ottawa to interview the suspect," Church said.
Police say Halifax RCMP will lead the investigation in conjunction with Ottawa Police and Ottawa RCMP.
It is not yet known whether the suspect will be charged in Ontario or Nova Scotia.
With files from The Canadian Press