Police respond to the Roosma residence on Pelham St., April 20, 2019. DAVE BURKET

A Fonthill man who sparked a four-hour, armed standoff with police in 2019 was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week. Michael Roosma, 30, was encouraged by a St. Catharines judge to take advantage of mental-health and self-care programs while serving out his sentence.

“We’re all complex, we have our demons and we have our achievements and, in order to have a long and happy life, it’s important that we recognize what features in our makeup … that takes us down the wrong path, because if we don’t recognize what those features are, we can’t start to address them,” Judge Fergus O’Donnell told Roosma, according to the St. Catharines Standard.

Roosma pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace.

Police were called to Roosma’s Pelham Street residence on April 20, 2019, upon reports of a disturbance. The man then fired a weapon indiscriminately, prompting a massive response that included Emergency Task Force officers, hostage negotiators and backup from other jurisdictions. Nearby residents were either evacuated or instructed to shelter in place.

During the standoff, Voice monitoring of a Niagara Regional Police radio frequency described the barricaded man as unwilling to “leave the house alive.” 

Roosma eventually surrendered to authorities without incident.

Court heard that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time, and has struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues in the past.

“He wants nothing more to have a nice life with his family and fiancée,” Roosma’s defense attorney David Protomanni said. “Once all the dust settles and he is released, he aspires to be a better person.”