SINGAPORE - First, a blaring sound broke the pre-dawn silence in the leafy residential area near the Shangri-La Hotel, followed by a few loud pops.
For residents of the posh condominiums and serviced apartments there, those noises were the only indications of the dramatic confrontation that took place at 4.30am along Ardmore Park.
"I heard the shrill blast of what sounded like an airhorn," said an Ardmore II resident who wanted to be known only as Steve. "This was followed by a series of popping noises that sounded like explosives going off."
Though somewhat alarmed, the 50-year-old financial executive went back to bed.
It was only in the morning that he realised what he had heard was police opening fire on a car that had tried to ram through a police checkpoint. The driver was shot dead.
Ms Daisy Umarani, 40, a security guard at Ardmore Residence, said she heard three gunshots.
"I was shocked but I couldn't go out to look. I needed to stay at the condo."
Ms Rachel Maher and her husband told The Straits Times that they "jumped out of bed" when they heard the noises from their apartment in Ardmore II. They went to the service elevator landing to take a look but could not see what was happening.
Said Ms Maher, a 42-year-old master's student from the United States: "We were afraid because we weren't sure what was going on. This place has been on high security for the past few days."
The annual Shangri-La Dialogue summit, attended by defence chiefs of 26 nations, began last Friday at the Shangri-La Hotel. Strict security measures for the high-profile event, which include the security checkpoint along Ardmore Park, had been put in place by then.
For one Shangri-La Apartments resident who declined to be named, the greater police presence has been reassuring. "Singapore knows how to do it right, to put a ring of protection around the place," said the 66-year-old permanent resident. "It's very, very visible assurance."
But most residents approached by The Straits Times said they slept soundly through it all.
"We just saw it on the news this morning," said Mr Muhamed Fall, 42, who works for the World Bank.
He lives with his family in the 8 Orange Grove condominium, just opposite the corner where the car came to a stop.
He said the incident had not alarmed them, adding wryly: "We come from the United States."
This article was first published on June 1, 2015.
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