Police: Man faces kidnapping charge after using boy as ‘shield’
WEST CHESTER, OHIO
A sheriff said an armed man used a 10-year-old boy as “a shield” during a hostage standoff of around 30 hours that ended peacefully Sunday morning.
Butler County authorities said the boy was taken to a hospital Sunday morning as a precaution, but no injuries were reported. The gunman, age 31, surrendered and was jailed. He had recently served prison time for felonious assault.
“Everywhere he moved, he was using the child as a shield,” Sheriff Richard Jones told reporters. “He wouldn’t allow that 10-year-old to leave his sight. That was his protection.”
Jones said the event began after a Friday-night altercation inside an apartment in the northern Cincinnati suburb of Liberty Township. He said the initial call came from the child’s mother, saying a man with a gun was demanding money. She got away from the apartment.
Authorities said the man fired as many as 30 shots, hitting an armored vehicle. Jones said police also believe the man shot a robot that was sent inside the apartment.
The gunman later barricaded himself with the child inside a vehicle in a garage. The child is not related to him.
Authorities said police didn’t return fire because they were worried about the child.
The sheriff said the standoff was one of the longest he’s ever been involved in. Jones said there were times when authorities didn’t expect to “get a good result out of this.” He said they could hear the child crying and feared the suspect wanted them to shoot.
“Something like this, we just do the best we can, take our time, and make it happen,” Jones said.
Authorities said more than 100 police and other emergency responders from other area departments participated in the standoff. Police praised apartment managers and residents for bringing them food and allowing them to use their facilities in single-digit temperatures.
Donald Gazaway was taken to Butler County Jail on charges of kidnapping, felonious assault and inducing panic. No attorney was listed for him.
State prison records show he was released last July after serving nearly five years on felonious assault charges from Hamilton County.