By Darian Stevenson
SYRACNZE, N.Y. — A person with a gun who held two women and a pregnant lady hostage in a Syracuse condo stored hanging up on police negotiators.
The person earlier launched the women however nonetheless had the girl. It was a tense state of affairs with an enormous police presence — SWAT group, snipers and a police robotic — exterior the North State Avenue condo.
Negotiators have been at a standstill. They determined to strive one thing totally different: They known as Police Chief Joseph Cecile.
The person with the gun – later recognized as Leslie T. Henderson, 45, of Syracuse – needed to speak to the chief. He stated he knew the chief when Cecile had labored as a road cop within the Nineties. He stated he trusted the chief as a result of when he was as soon as arrested, he made certain somebody took care of his canines.
The chief – who acknowledged Henderson’s title and picture — isn’t educated in negotiations, so the group didn’t wish to put him on the cellphone with Henderson. So, that they had the chief make a video message.
Negotiators texted Henderson the video. Thirty seconds later, Henderson was again on the cellphone with negotiators.
A number of hours later, he launched the third hostage round 7:40 p.m. and moments afterward, Henderson turned himself in to police.
The 12-hour standoff final weekend, which may have ended rather more tragically, was over with no accidents and the person in custody.
Cecile sat down with Syracuse.com | The Put up-Normal this week to speak intimately in regards to the standoff and the way Syracuse officers – along with assist from psychological well being specialists and others – labored to defuse the state of affairs and finish it safely.
It began at about 8:21 a.m. final Saturday when a caller to 911 reported that somebody shot at him at 1022 N. State St. Syracuse police quickly swarmed the condo constructing and neighborhood.
Henderson, the constructing superintendent, was holding the 2 teenagers and the girl towards their will inside an condo on the third flooring.
Quickly, Henderson was talking to the division’s negotiators by cellphone.
The negotiators satisfied him to launch the 2 women who have been each 14 years previous, one at 11:30 a.m. and the opposite at 1:30 p.m.
One of many women is the daughter of Hasahn “Haz” Bloodworth, co-founder of Rebirth Syracuse, a bunch that’s protested towards police abuse. He stated he was overwhelmed with pleasure to see his daughter come out of the condo unhurt.
Bloodworth, at occasions a critic of the police, stated he was impressed with the best way police dealt with the state of affairs. He stated they handled Henderson’s family with respect and introduced meals to these displaced from the condo constructing.
Through the negotiations, Henderson requested to talk with the chief a number of occasions.
Cecile stated he remembered Henderson from when he labored on the West Aspect in an space that was identified to have issues with weapons and drugs.
Henderson was out and in of hassle then, Cecile stated. The chief stated he didn’t wish to say extra about Henderson’s issues.
State information present Henderson frolicked in state jail thrice, twice on drug fees and as soon as for theft. He final obtained out in 2020.
Henderson remembered his interactions with Cecile. He advised negotiators that Cecile and different officers took excellent care of his canines when Henderson was as soon as arrested, Cecile stated. They advised him the place his canines can be taken and who would look after them whereas he was away. The officers even provided recommendation on how he may get them again, he stated.
Cecile had left at about 2 p.m., shortly after the discharge of the second lady.
About an hour later, a member of the police Disaster Response Unit known as him to say Henderson requested if the 2 of them may converse. Cecile returned to the condo constructing.
Cecile and the negotiators mentioned what he ought to say. Negotiators wrote up a press release, however Cecile needed to work with negotiators to say what he felt was extra pure and real. Collectively they drafted a script, he stated.
The group recorded a video of Cecile with the command publish within the background. Cecile stated it was about belief. He needed to verify Henderson knew he was on the scene and keen to speak to him if Henderson was keen to let the opposite hostage go.
Within the video, Cecile stated, he addressed Henderson by his first title and motioned to the command publish within the background. He advised Henderson he was keen to speak to him.
He remembers saying one thing like:
“We all know one another from the previous days and I’m sorry about what you’re going via proper now, however you and I do know each know, the younger girl shouldn’t be the reason for the issue, or the answer to your drawback.”
The chief stated he advised Henderson he wanted to do the suitable factor by releasing the 26-year-old lady so she may come out and get one thing to eat. He’d famous she had been locked within the condo all day.
Negotiators texted Henderson the video and it labored to get Henderson again on the cellphone speaking. A number of hours later, the standoff was over.
After the hostage was launched, Henderson was taken out of the constructing in handcuffs and was placed on a stretcher. He was later charged with illegal imprisonment, prison possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.
Cecile stated the negotiation could have taken longer after he despatched the video as a result of Henderson was involved about what would occur to him as soon as he launched the hostage and surrendered.
However Cecile stated the negotiation group works to type a relationship and talk about the best-case state of affairs with individuals throughout standoffs. He stated negotiators are trustworthy with suspects they usually even advised Henderson that he would face fees as soon as he surrendered that evening.
Negotiators additionally tried to come up with Henderson’s physician, so he may converse with somebody he trusted. Liberty Sources, a neighborhood company that gives psychological well being companies, was additionally on the scene, Cecile stated.
He stated negotiators don’t rush for an final result, and ensure to take their time when discussing choices, identical to they did with Henderson on Saturday.
Cecile stated these concerned within the negotiation course of harassed it was a group effort with all of the officers on the scene. Cecile needed to spotlight their good work by figuring out the negotiators however honored their needs to not be named.
Cecile stated constructing relationships in the neighborhood is a necessary a part of the job. He stated the division may all the time work to get higher on this facet, however that he’s been seeing the youthful technology of officers step up on this space.
“This case highlights that it’s best to all the time deal with individuals with dignity and compassion, even of their darkest moments,” Cecile stated.
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