Hospital: Turkish policeman tries to kill self, causes panic

Armed police officers stand outside Istanbul's Cerrahpasa hospital, Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017. Turkish media reports say an armed man is holding a number of doctors and other staff hostage at the hospital in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

ISTANBUL (AP) — An armed police officer receiving psychiatric treatment barricaded himself into a room at an Istanbul hospital and attempted to commit suicide on Wednesday, causing panic, a hospital official said.

Earlier, Turkish media reports said the man had taken doctors and other staff hostage at Istanbul’s Cerrahpasa hospital.

But Zekayi Kutlubay, the hospital’s chief physician, said all staff has been evacuated from the psychiatry unit and the police officer was alone. He said police negotiators are trying to persuade the man not to kill himself

“He is alone in the room,” Kutlubay told reporters outside of the hospital. “There is no hostage crisis … God willing, we will convince him.”

Kutlubay said the officer had been receiving psychiatric treatment for the past two years and the police force had confiscated his gun.

“The gun is not his, but unfortunately he has a gun with him,” the physician said.

Turkey is on edge following a spate of deadly attacks, including an armed assault at an Istanbul nightclub during a New Year’s celebration that killed 39 people.