Going in with guns blazing has become oh so painfully passé.
For the second time this month, the Tucson Police Department spent a lot of manpower and time to end an extended standoff with a barricaded suspect, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department.
This time the standoff lasted more than 8 hours, required two less lethal forms of weaponry and involved up to 80 police patrol, SWAT, hostage negotiation and investigative personnel.
The suspect, Alexander Robert Ramsey, 31, also went beyond the “barricaded suspect” description. He doubled as a convicted felon, former prison inmate and guy with an outstanding felony warrant out for his arrest for violation of conditions of release related to a March armed robbery and aggravated assault in Pima County.
Ramsey, of Tucson, had been released from prison and placed on supervised release in 2006, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections website, after serving part of his 10 year sentence for a 1997 armed robbery.
His Oct. 22 arrest, after an all-night standoff, brought a slew of new felony charges, including domestic violence/kidnapping and unlawful use of a means for transportation.
Evidently prison did not do much to rehabilitate the fellow.
A 911 call came in from a woman on a pay phone around 10:50 p.m. Oct. 21 reporting her friend was being held against her will by Ramsey, her friend’s estranged boyfriend.
Police were at the pay phone’s location, at East Fifth Street and North Alvernon Way, “in approximately two minutes,” to find the action was a few blocks down. The kidnap victim was outside and Ramsey barricaded inside a home in the 4000 block of East Fifth Street, west of North Euclid Avenue.
Patrol officers surrounded the house and tried to contact Ramsey. Here’s where they learned about the outstanding felony warrant.
Ramsey was not being very cooperative, so the initial 25 to 30 police on the scene called in the SWAT and Hostage Negotiations Unit (HNU).
Adjacent homes were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution.”
Hostage Negotiations tried to communicate with Ramsey from outside and even sent SWAT personnel and Tucson police K-9 inside over the next four hour stretch.
They deducted Ramsey was hiding in the attic. They also deducted, after four hours, he wasn’t budging.
“Flash-bang devices” came next and, although these shrapnel-free grenade-like weapons produce a blinding flash and blaring bang meant to disorient the suspect, Ramsey still stayed put.
Tear gas to the rescue.
Ramsey finally spoke up after about 40 minutes of the tear gas and SWAT personnel got him out of the attic and into custody “without further incident.” No weapons had been found inside the home.
Although Ramsey was not injured, he was taken to a local hospital “as a precaution related to his lengthy confinement within the attic as well as the exposure to the irritating effects of the tear gas.”
He was treated, released and booked into Pima County Jail.
“Ultimately, the responding personnel worked together to achieve the Department’s goal of bringing this dynamic incident to a peaceful resolution with a minimum risk of injury to all involved,” the release said.
Excellent job to Tucson police for handling the situation sans unwarranted violence and following protocol.
But we also wonder if protocol should have exceptions and kid gloves ever discarded.
What do you think?
Should ever single “barricaded suspect” be treated the same or should past offenses call for more aggressive action?
Should the kid gloves ever come off?