MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 7-year-old boy was held hostage for an hour after a home invasion in Brooklyn Park.
It happened just after 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon on the 7500 block of 83rd Avenue. Police eventually got the boy out safely.
“I came out and the cop was already hiding right there. He told me to stay inside, tell everybody to stay inside,” said Joab Baires.
Baires, a college student, was home studying Thursday afternoon when he heard commotion outside and saw officers surround the house next door.
“I saw SWAT moving in, SWAT moving in the back, there was a sheriff‘s trailer in the back too,” said Baires.
He quickly learned that a 38-year-old Missouri man with a lengthy criminal history had gotten into his neighbor’s house by kicking down a door.
Before the suspect broke into the home, 911 calls were coming in from neighbors reporting a suspicious man walking through their yards. One caller said the man had broken into his house too, but then fled on foot.
There were a number of children inside during the last break-in. They ran out of the house and flagged down officers who were already on alert. That’s when they learned that a 7-year-old boy was still inside.
“Officers began searching the house and located a locked room where the suspect indicated he was inside, that he had the child, and was holding him against his will,” said Deputy Chief Mark Bruley.
“He was armed with at least two handguns. He clearly demonstrated he was armed by racking his slide on his handgun. They could hear the child in the room as well,” he said.
After an hour of negotiating, the suspect agreed to release the boy. Negotiators tried to get him to come out safely as well, but nearly eight hours after he invaded the home, the man took his own life.
“I would describe it as horrific. This is a family in their house on an average day, 3:00 in the afternoon, and someone breaks in their door,” said Bruley.
“Imagine if it were us? We are right next-door. Imagine if it was this house. It’s crazy,” said Baires.
All the children were reunited with their parents, who were not home at the time of the break-in.
Police also located a stolen car the suspect was driving. They believe he was working with an accomplice to burglarize homes and they are still actively looking for that person.
Bruley wanted to thank residents who called 911. “We had over 100 shootings last year. It’s very concerning the violence we are seeing in our community. It’s an all hands on deck approach to resolve it right now,” said Bruley.