With this SWAT blog, we're answering a question proposed in the May 9 blog, "Domestic Hostage Barricade: What Would You Do?" You told us how you would handle the scenario of a suspect who has taken his ex-girlfriend hostage in a residence.
Now, we'll give you the actual outcome from the incident. Here's the answer:
Of the four initial deputies, one deputy moves forward into the residence. The other three are essentially obligated to follow, rather than let him go in alone. They enter the master bedroom and drive on to the even smaller master bath.
At 10:27 a.m.—five minutes after arriving—an officer down call came out. One minute later, a deputy on scene reported that three officers had been shot. This is approximately five minutes after their initial on-scene arrival. Here's what transpired in the bedroom/bathroom scene.
As the deputies moved forward toward the bathroom, they observed the suspect with a pistol in hand, holding the female hostage in front of him. The usual words are exchanged, such as "Drop the gun" and "Get back or I'll shoot." To get an angle on the suspect who is behind the hostage, the deputy who had led the others into the bedroom mounts a vanity that's approximately three yards from the suspect and hostage.
It's not clear who fired first, but the deputy on the vanity and the suspect exchanged shots. The deputy, wearing borrowed body armor, is hit in the lower abdomen (pelvic area), just below the body armor, and in the side. Two other deputies fire on the suspect who still has the hostage in front of him. These two deputies are hit by gunfire. Another deputy backs away from the doorway of the bath and fires multiple rounds through the wall between the bedroom and bath. The two officers that engaged from the doorway received minor wounds and were able to evacuate the first officer that engaged from the vanity. He was the most seriously wounded.
SWAT had been called at 10:28 a.m. after the officer-down call was put out. The suspect remained in the bath using the wounded female hostage as a shield. When SWAT arrived and took control, a negotiator convinced the suspect to put down the weapon and surrender. Both he and the hostage were taken to a local hospital for treatment. He suffered minor injuries. The hostage received multiple gunshot wounds (most of them believed to have been the result of "friendly fire"). She was hit in the torso, hips, and legs.
Two of the deputies who had been shot were treated and released and shortly returned to duty. The most seriously wounded deputy spent considerable time in intensive care in critical condition. He received over 200 units of blood. The blood loss resulted in kidney failure. He received a transplant and will be on the attendant medications for the rest of his life. As yet, he has not return to duty.
The suspect, whose injuries were the most minor of all of the participants, was tried and convicted of several felonies. He will either be a very old man or dead when he is released from prison.
Bob Parker is the Patrol Section chair for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA).