Liberty Township standoff ends: Alleged gunman identified, booked into jail; boy safe
A gunman who held a 10-year-old boy hostage for nearly 30 hours surrendered early Sunday and the boy is safe, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said.
The man was taken into custody as the SWAT standoff finally ended about 6:30 a.m. His name and possible charges were not immediately released.
Several police and fire vehicles are leaving the scene at the Springs of Liberty Township Apartments off Hamilton-Mason Road.
Authorities are expected to release more details at a press conference later this morning.
The man and boy spent more than 12 hours overnight in the backseat of a vehicle running in a garage attached to an apartment.
SWAT negotiators tried to communicate with the man, who is not related to the child.
At times he responded; other times he did not, according to the sheriff.
All the while, he kept the boy next to him.
The standoff began about 1 a.m. Saturday during a dispute between the suspect and the boy’s mother, according to the sheriff.
The mother and another person who was in the apartment at the time ran out.
Her son remained inside with the gunman for several hours before taking him to the car later Saturday morning.
During a press conference at the scene Saturday, Jones said the situation proved much more difficult than any other SWAT scene he’d encountered because the boy’s presence kept them from taking action to end the standoff.
“The gunman has led us a couple times to believe he is coming out but doesn’t,” he said. “It’s just a marathon at this point. Everyone is concerned about the boy.”
The suspect fired 20 to 30 shots at deputies Saturday morning and early Saturday afternoon. Authorities did not return fire, according to the sheriff.
SWAT team members believed he had more ammunition.
“He’s not shooting at us so that’s a positive thing, that’s as positive as it is right now, we are talking with him, I don’t know if we are negotiating with him but we are talking with him, but when he’s not shooting at us that’s a positive thing.” Jones said Saturday.
As the day turned into night, his staff ended their shifts after working nearly 20 hours straight.
Overnight, SWAT teams from West Chester and Hamilton police took over the scene in a joint operation with sheriff’s commanders who remained.
Jones said that the child seemed okay as they spoke Saturday with the suspect, but they knew he remained in danger.
Liberty Township is located about 40 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati.
Enquirer media partner Fox19 provided this report.
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