Vandalism incident leads to SWAT call-out in Richmond www.privateofficer.com
RICHMOND, Va. June 12 2012 – A man has been taken into custody after a SWAT team and negotiators were called to a parking deck in downtown Richmond Monday morning.
“It’s scary because on any given day I could be walking in the parking deck and you just never know what can happen from one day to the next,” said Melissa Hobson.
Hobson works in downtown Richmond and was trying to make her way into the Crowne Plaza parking garage when she witnessed the so-called scary scene unfold.
“They told me that I couldn’t park and I later learned there was a standoff inside the parking deck,” said Hobson.
James Mercante with the Richmond Police Department said at 5:18 a.m. officers responded to a call about a suspicious person inside the parking garage on Canal Street. Investigators said when they arrived, they found several cars had been vandalized and when they attempted to approach the man they thought might be responsible for the break-ins he grabbed a woman.
“The young man then behaved as if she was a shield,” said Mercante.
Officials said in addition to grabbing the woman, the man also put his hand inside a bag and went behind an air unit in the parking garage. Because police were unsure if the woman was a hostage or what may have been inside the bag, a SWAT team and negotiators were called to the scene. Detectives said as the SWAT team arrived, the man released the woman and surrendered to a uniformed officer at 7:27 a.m.
Several surrounding streets were temporarily closed as police tried to get the man to surrender. The area has since reopened.
Police said it’s still unclear if the woman was a victim or if she too is a suspect. Detectives are trying to figure out if the man and woman know one another.
“Detectives don’t really know what the dynamics were between the pair,” said Mercante.
No injuries were reported and charges are pending.