SWAT and Crisis Negotiators Defuse Volatile Situation - NBC Southern California
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SWAT and Crisis Negotiators Defuse Volatile Situation

SWAT team and crisis negotiator look back on a call that could have ended badly.



    Crisis negotiators recently helped save a veteran's life who was facing a very low moment. Kathy Vara reports for NBC4 News at 5 on Friday, May 12, 2017. (Published Saturday, May 13, 2017)

    Los Angeles County's SWAT team and negotiators had a dangerous situation on their hands. A distraught veteran had fired shots inside a home and was asking officers to shoot and kill him.

    It could have been a deadly outcome the afternoon of April 21 when at a house in La Puente, if not for the team's special training.

    "He was extremely angry, very uncooperative," said Sgt. Kamal Hamad, a member of SWAT. "We could see the individual moving around inside. He had a hand gun in hand and he was coming to both doors at different times very irate and wanting us to kill him."

    Negotiator Rudy Cortez, a veteran with more than 30 years of experience, set up operations within minutes and was able to make contact.

    "He threatened several times to just shoot him," Cortez said.

    The team learned the man's wife and daughter had made it out alive.

    "We were able to find out this was a former military man who was inside the house alone," Hamad said.

    Negotiations can last for dozens of hours, tying up valuable manpower.

    "We had all our special teams and long rifles deployed in case, but our ultimate goal was to obviously end this thing as safely as possible."
    They were intent to wait it out.

    "As long as they are talking to us we know they are not shooting at us. We know they're not hurting themselves or hurting somebody else."

    After hours at the negotiating table, Cortez was finally able to convince the man to surrender.

    "He was still angry but he decided that this was the best thing for him. He wanted to see his grand kids again," he said.

    It was the ending the team wanted, for everyone involved.

    "You know he's just having a bad day," Hamad said. "He had no criminal history. So we definitely wanted to try to safely take him into custody and try get him the help that he needs."

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