PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh police negotiators say they had never dealt with a hostage taker who communicated publicly on Facebook before they convinced a man to surrender after he did just that last week. And now they’ll start training for that possibility.
A police commander and three officers involved in Friday’s incident met with the media Tuesday.
Lt. Jason Lando says this case – in which a businessman was held at knifepoint in his downtown office – brought the role of social media in a hostage crisis to light. He says negotiators fear that outside communication from others can potentially agitate a hostage taker, put the lives of hostages in jeopardy.
The alleged hostage taker is 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton. He remains jailed after a hearing scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.