An hours-long standoff ended Monday afternoon in Melbourne — but without the person who police thought was inside an apartment they surrounded.

  • Police responded to Melbourne home over standoff
  • Unknown whether man inside was armed
  • Michael Brandon Dudley-Palmer was not in home
  • Section of Pineapple Avenue was closed during situation

The standoff, which began at about 7 a.m. and lasted about six hours, during which police tried to negotiate with a man to peacefully surrender, while neighbors were told to leave their homes.

Paula Johnson's quiet morning got loud very quickly just before 6:30 a.m.

"I was terrified to say the least," Johnson said.

Police officers were on her Shady Oaks apartments doorstep, telling her she had to leave. Pineapple Avenue, near U.S. 1, from Cliff Creek Drive North to Riverdale Drive was shut down for several hours.

"I was told I could not return to my home until this situation ended," she said.

The situation was a reported domestic violence incident directly across the parking lot of the Pineapple Avenue apartment complex. Investigators said 25-year-old Michael Dudley-Palmer and his girlfriend were in some type of dispute. Police said the girlfriend got out OK.

"She was safe and didn't need any medical attention," says Lt. Cheryl Trainer of the Melbourne Police Deptartment.

But officers weren't taking any chances, thinking Dudley-Palmer was still inside. A lengthy negotiation then began to try to get him to surrender peacefully. When that didn't work, the team deployed tear gas into the apartment, but nothing happened.

Finally, after checking it and an adjoining apartment, it was clear that the man was not inside.

"He possibly made it out before a perimeter was set up," Trainer said.

For Johnson, she said it was an inconvenience to be away from home for hours from her cats, but she understands safety first.

"They were happy to see their mother," she said of her pets.

If you know where Dudley-Palmer is, call Melbourne Police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.