Thursday, March 30, 2017


'I want you to walk in there and kill this guy': A SWAT officer was ordered to shoot dead a crazed knifeman holding a one-year-old boy and four-year-old girl hostage

Associated Press and Daily Mail
March 29, 2017

Bodycam footage shows the moment a Baltimore SWAT supervisor ordered an officer to kill a man holding two children hostage with a knife.

It shows a sergeant telling his officer 'I want you to be relaxed, and I want you to walk in there and kill this guy'.

Moments later the officer entered the apartment where Reno Owens was holding the one-year-old and four-year-old captive with a 12-inch butcher knife and shot them dead on Friday.

The graphic footage of the standoff was shown to reporters on Tuesday - and an edited snippet showing only the SWAT officer entering the apartment was released to the public by Baltimore Police.

Police said 39-year-old Reno Owens had spent the night at his female cousin's house, awoke early Friday, went to her children's room and took them hostage.

Footage shows the woman meeting officers outside the home and telling them Owens charged at her with a knife in his hand. The video then moves onto officers in a bedroom doorway, pleading with Owens as he held the one-year-old boy and four-year-old girl at knifepoint.

He is heard screaming at the officers, threatening the children and also laughing, reciting prayers and at one point singing 'Rock-a-bye Baby.' One officer repeatedly tells Owens they want to help him and asks him to drop the 12-inch butcher knife. Owens doesn't cooperate.

Outside the house, a SWAT team sergeant gives the order to shoot Owens, saying he could kill the children at any time and that nonlethal force wasn't an option.

'I want you to be calm,' the sergeant tells SWAT Officer Zachary Wein. 'I want you to be relaxed, and I want you to walk in there and kill this guy.'

Moments later, video shows Wein walking up the steps, exchanging a few words with Owens, who still refuses to cooperate, and then firing a single fatal shot. During the exchange, Owens can be heard saying, 'I'd rather go out this way.'

Davis said hostage negotiators had been called, but didn't make it in time. Police have not yet determined whether Owens was on drugs at the time.

The actual shot that killed Owens wasn't shown, but authorities said regardless of what Owens was doing at that moment he was a deadly threat the entire time.

Davis said he decided not to publicly distribute footage of Friday's standoff to protect the children from being re-traumatized later.

'As they go through their childhood, adolescence and rest of their lives, we didn't want to create a video footprint they would be exposed to,' he said at a news conference.

Owens' mother, Doreen Parker, said she was shocked when she heard the news. Owens lived with her, she said, and while he sometimes struggled with depression, 'he loves kids; he would never hurt anybody.'

Davis praised the officers for their 'courage, bravery and grace under pressure,' and stressed such commands from SWAT supervisors are not uncommon in hostage cases involving 'a deadly threat.' But seldom are such exchanges captured on camera.

More such dramatic videos are expected to become available in cities nationwide where body cameras are being deployed by police agencies, pressed for greater transparency in dealings with the public after protests in recent years over the deaths of black men and others at the hands of law enforcement.

Civil unrest erupted across Baltimore in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man whose neck was broken in the back of a police transport van. Last year, the department began deploying body cameras, and earlier this year entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice over its history of excessive force, unlawful stops and discriminatory practices.

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

No hostages were dead at the end. No good guys were dead at the end. That is the bottom line. A dead hostage takers is merely a bonus.