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Springfield police: Man used baby as shield in standoff with police

Published: Monday, January 07, 2019 @ 11:13 AM

James Cunningham
James Cunningham

A Springfield man is accused of using a baby as a human shield during a standoff with police, according to a police affidavit.

James Cunningham, 46, was charged in Clark County Municipal Court with child endangering, kidnapping and resisting arrest.

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Springfield police began their investigation Monday morning when they were called to a home on the 800 block of Rodgers Drive, according to a police affidavit filed with the charges. There they met with a witness who said Cunningham was upstairs with a gun.

“At this time Mr. Cunningham came down the stairs naked and told officers that he had a gun and they would have to kill him,” the affidavit says.

The officers backed out of the home and called for back up, the affidavit says. They then retrieved their duty rifles and approached the house again, the affidavit says.

“Upon entering the front door officers were met by Mr. Cunningham who was on the stairs, holding his 9-month-old child as a shield,” the affidavit says. “Mr. Cunningham again told officers that he had a gun and they would have to kill him. Officers Sullivan and Potter held their position on the stairs until more officers arrived.”

The affidavit says Cunningham retreated to a bedroom and when more officers arrived they moved towards him. The affidavit says Cunningham opened the bedroom door and after he saw officers he shut the door and moved to a window.

“Officers made entry into the bedroom and ordered Mr. Cunningham to give them the baby,” the affidavit says. “Mr. Cunningham did not follow orders and (an officer) moved to Mr. Cunningham’s right side and ordered him to release the baby or he would be tased. Mr. Cunningham failed to comply with (officer’s) orders and he was tased. Mr. Cunningham fell and then went to the window and attempted to climb out.”

Cunningham was then hit with a Taser again and officers were able to get the child away from the suspect, the report says.

Cunningham was arrested shortly after. He was hit with a Taser three times overall, the affidavit says.

Medics checked the child and found no injuries, the affidavit says.