Domestic Hostage Barricade: What Would You Do?

An ex-boyfriend holds a female hostage at gunpoint as deputies decide whether to enter the house or contain, control, and call SWAT. Tell us how you would handle the situation by adding a comment below.

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With this SWAT blog, we're presenting a scenario for your consideration. We'd like to know how you would handle it, so please add your comments below.

The scenario is based on an incident from 2010. In the next post, we'll give you the actual outcome. OK, here's the set up:

At 10 a.m. on a Friday, dispatchers receive a 911 call from a female stating that her ex-boyfriend was attempting to kick in her front door. He had driven from another state to retrieve an engagement ring. Sheriff's deputies arrive at the suburban residence at approximately 10:22 a.m. They're met at the front of the residence by a female friend of the caller.

She tells the deputies that the suspect—a 47-year-old white male—had taken the caller (now victim) to the master bedroom at the rear of the house. She also tells them that he was armed with a 9mm handgun. There had been no indication in the initial 911 call that the suspect was armed.

At about this time, the deputies hear a woman screaming from inside the residence; the victim is still on the phone with 911 dispatchers. Deputies make a controlled entry into the front of the house with no supervisors present.

At this point, no shots have been fired, and the deputies have heard no overt threats from the suspect. They believe the suspect and hostage have migrated to the bathroom in the master bedroom.

The deputies then discussed how to proceed. Several of the more senior officers suggest calling SWAT, while the suspect is barricaded in the house. One deputy states that he believes the female hostage is in imminent danger and advocates driving further into the house to the master bedroom and bath.

At this time, the deputies have been at the scene for no more than three minutes. No attempt is made to contact a supervisor although one or more are on the way. What would you do? Go into the breach or contain, control, and call SWAT?

Bob Parker is the Patrol Section chair for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA).

About the Author
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Lieutenant (Ret.)
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