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‘Why are you doing this to me?’: How this weekend’s 30-hour hostage standoff unfolded in Liberty Twp.

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:32 PM

Liberty Twp. standoff suspect arraigned

Multiple police agencies with hours of training came to the aid of a 10-year-old boy held hostage in his Liberty Twp. home.

The 30-hour standoff began late Friday night. Donald Tobias Gazaway is accused of pulling a gun at a residence in the 700 block of East Hamilton Place, demanding thousands of dollars from the female resident and then using the boy as a human shield before surrendering Sunday morning.

MORE: $1 million-plus bond for standoff suspect

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said that halfway through the standoff it became apparent the department was not equipped for such a lengthy incident. With SWAT officers tired from standing in frigid conditions, the reinforcements came in the form of Hamilton and West Chester Police.

“We knew we needed help. We asked for relief and, actually, they were calling us,” Jones said. He added that officers from those departments took the place of deputies so they could get some sleep and return Sunday morning.

Several trained deputies and police officers negotiated with Gazaway for hours through a speaker on a cell phone tossed to him, a bullhorn and Gazaway yelling to authorities.

MORE: Suspect in standoff demanded thousands from 10-year-old boy’s mother

“We did not at times think we were going to get a good result …. we thought he wanted us to shoot him,” Jones said.

While the sheriff will not say if that was actually a plan, he did say, “He never gave us a chance. We could not move in, we could not do anything without jeopardizing the child.”

Negotiators did provide food and water to Gazaway and the boy, who were in a vehicle in the garage most of the time.

At times, they could hear the boy cry and saying, “Why are you doing this to me?”

Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said the negotiation process was not good, due to the location and Gazaway’s refusal to actually use the cell phone officials provided.

MORE: 2 battles for first responders today: Fire and dangerous weather

“At times, he said he was going to give up, then didn’t,” Dwyer said. “That happened several times. Then he would turn the radio on and sit there.”

Waiting out was what worked in the end, officials said.

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Nearly 30 cars broken into at Atlanta apartment complex in one night

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 3:20 AM

Nearly 30 Cars Broken Into At Atlanta Apartment Complex

Residents at Aspire Lenox Park Apartments in Atlanta are wondering what it will take to stop the recent spike in car break-ins at their complex.

Nearly 30 cars were broken into overnight Saturday. In many cases, the doors were locked and nothing of value was visible. Victims still ended up with shattered windows. 

“It’s not like they’re breaking into unlocked cars. They’re all locked cars, and it’s just -- there’s no rhyme or reason,” resident Bailey Beckham said. 

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Atlanta police told WSB 28 cars were targeted, mostly in the parking deck.

“I hadn’t heard that number. I know there were eight the other weekend, but 28 is a lot,” resident Alex King said.

"It's kind of scary because we don’t know why or what's going on or how we're going to stop it. It’s just nerve-racking,” Beckham said.

The break-ins have been especially frustrating for victims like Ryan Colley, who had nothing visible in his car and nothing taken. 

“It’s devastating and it hurts because we had to pay out of pocket. Our deductible, of course, and the insurance is $500, and anything below that you have to pay out of pocket,” Colley said. 

Residents said they received emails about increased patrols and security, but there are mixed opinions on the results so far.

“They say they’re going to hire some security. I haven’t seen anything yet,” Colley said.

“I guess that's helpful, but I just don’t know how we’re going to stop it if we don't know how many people or where or when,” Beckham said.

“Maybe setting up cameras in the area, so if they don’t catch the people and this continues to happen, at least they have cameras and can find them a little easier,” King said. 

Residents told WSB they are clearing out their cars but are still on edge because it has not stopped the break-ins.

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Rottweiler dies in hot car at county jail, woman visitor arrested on the spot 

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 10:45 PM

Woman Visiting Jail Arrested After Rottweiler Dies In Hot Car

A Georgia woman left her Rottweiler in her car for five hours while she was in court at the Gwinnett County Jail, causing the dog’s death, sheriff officials said.

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Connie Wright Gomez, 46, has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Gomez went to the jail as a “court visitor” around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, leaving her dog, Rambo, in her car, she told deputies. She left the windows open about an inch.

Around 6:30 p.m., deputies heard Gomez mention she had left her dog in the car. One of the deputies went with Gomez to the car to check on the dog because the weather had been warm all day, with a high temperature of 82 degrees. When they arrived at the car, Rambo was dead.

Related: Dog dies after being left in Animal Control officer’s truck

When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172 degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gomez was arrested and booked into jail. She is being held on a $16,700 bond.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway expressed dismay at the case.

Conway started the Operation Second Chance “jail dogs” program, which matches jail inmates with adoptable dogs and cats. The inmates train and socialize the animals. 

“I hope this poor dog’s horrific death reminds pet owners to make responsible choices for their pets,” Conway said. 

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Police: Suspected ice cream eating burglar causes Kettering school lockdown

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

Suspected ice cream eating burglar causes Kettering school lockdown

A man who was suspected of breaking into a Kettering home early Thursday morning and eating the victims’ ice cream was later arrested after causing a school lockdown, according to police.

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Around 1 a.m. Thursday, Kettering police responded to a home in the first block of Abbott Drive after the occupants found a man inside their home, according to a police incident report. 

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“(The occupants) woke up to find (the) suspect in their residence eating ice cream, going through their personal items, and fled the scene, leaving his clothing behind,” the report said. 

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The man was able to flee on foot, taking a victim’s wallet, but left behind his shoes, jeans, and hat, police said. 

Around 9 a.m., administrators at Greenmont Elementary School in Kettering initiated a lockdown after receiving a report of a suspicious person on school property, a Kettering police spokesman said. 

“Officers responded and after a search of the area, located the subject near Smithville and Watervliet (roads),” the spokesman said. 

The man, later identified as Jonathan Jacob Hazelbaker, 23, was arrested for an outstanding warrant for his arrest and booked into the Kettering City Jail. 

The school returned to normal activities after Hazelbaker was taken into custody, police said. 

Hazelbaker, who hasn’t been charged in connection to the break-in, was later booked into the Greene County Jail, where he’s being held on $20,000 bond, online records show.

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Registered sex offenders get surprise visit from deputies

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:02 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:02 PM


            Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.
Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.

Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.

Beginning at 9 a.m., 15 teams of deputies began the annual verification operation of nearly 500 registered sex offenders.

MORE: Man exposed himself at West Chester Kroger, police say

Periodic spot checks of offenders are conducted throughout the year, but mass verification is conducted annually.

“This operation is vital to keep the people in this community safe by keeping track of where these sex offenders are. If they are not following the orders of the court, they go to jail. It’s that simple,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

For more information about Butler County registered sex offenders, log into www.butlersheriff.org and click “SORN” at the top of the page. You can check to see if any offenders are living near your residence as well as register to be notified if anyone moves near you.

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