TRANSCRIPT: Thursday's LPD Press Conference - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TRANSCRIPT: Thursday's LPD Press Conference

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Officer Kody Nesbitt was contacted by the hostage while off-duty at home. Officer Kody Nesbitt was contacted by the hostage while off-duty at home.

SGT Jonathan Stewart:

I'm SGT Jonathan Stewart with the Lubbock Police Department and Public Information Officer. With me is officer Kody Nesbitt; he's a member of the P.D.'s K9 unit, assigned to the patrol division. How this will work is I will go through a little bit of the details that we probably already covered somewhat to this point, speak on that a little bit. I will then turn it over to officer Nesbitt for a few minutes. Officer Nesbitt played a tremendous role yesterday in the peaceful resolution of the situation so we'll let him speak a little bit on his actions. Once he's finished I'll go ahead and take over and finish out and then I will take any questions. Officer Nesbitt will not be taking any questions today.

About 3:20 yesterday afternoon, a man we later identified as Mr. Tommy Beatles went in at the City Bank branch at the eighty two hundred Quaker Kings Gate, conducted some regular banking business and then left the bank. About ten minutes later, about 3:30 in the afternoon, Mr. Beatles returned to the bank while there were no customers inside. Mr. Beatles went to one of the back offices where a loan officer was. He entered the office with the loan officer, closed and locked the door, indicated to the loan officer that he had a gun and then he told her that he needed to get everybody out of the bank. At the time that he went into the bank, there were six total bank employees inside; again there were no customers inside at the time. Once he gave instructions to have everyone leave the bank, the loan officer was able to call to the front and have everyone else leave the bank. So five tellers did leave, leaving the loan officer in the office with Mr. Beatles. Again he did indicate to the victim that he had a gun. The victim could see he had something in his waistband, which she believed to be a weapon. At that point she was placed in fear for her life. The victim actually knew Mr. Nesbitt here personally, and the hostage taker allowed her to call officer Nesbitt, so she did so. Officer Nesbitt was off duty, at his home at the time. Once he had been contacted by the victim, he was able to speak with the hostage taker, Mr. Beatles. He was able to establish contact with him, he established rapport. He was able to negotiate the release of the hostage. It took about twenty minutes from the time Mr. Beatles first entered the bank until he released the hostage. Officer Nesbitt ended up responding to the scene where he teamed up with LPD hostage negotiators and at that point he continued negotiating with Mr. Beatles and ended up negotiating for Mr. Beatles to exit the bank at which time he was taken into custody. At this time I'll let officer Nesbitt go ahead and give ya'll his take on this situation. Again we'll come back to me after that and Officer Nesbitt won't be taking questions.

Officer Kody Nesbitt:

Good afternoon. As SGT Stewart told you, I am officer Nesbitt with the Police K9 unit. While I was off duty yesterday, I was at my house just doing some routine email checking on my computer and working on some training records for my K9 hyco**, and I received a phone call at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon. When the call came in it was an unlisted number, it was a number I didn't recognize. 99% of the time I don't answer those calls because I don't know if it's a telemarketer or I just don't know who it might be. But for some reason something inside me said I was supposed to go ahead and answer it. I don't know why but I felt like I was supposed to go ahead and answer the call. So I went ahead and picked up and there was a lady on the other end of the line and she told me who she was, that she was with City Bank, and I told her, okay. And I could tell there was something wrong immediately. She sounded very scared. As soon as I asked what was going on she told me there was a man standing in front of her with a gun and that he needed to talk to me. And so I said, okay, and asked for his name and she told me his name was Tommy. I said, "Well do me a favor, go ahead and hand the phone to Tommy." So while she was handing the phone to him, my thought process went from being off duty, hanging out at the house, to patrol mode, thinking what do I need to do to get my friend out of the situation. When Tommy answered, the first thing I asked him was what was going on, trying to take his mind off of thinking about the situation and how dangerous it was. We talked for a few moments, I tried establishing a little bit of rapport with him, just trying to calm him down, make sure he wasn't going to do anything irrational quickly. Once I kind of got a rapport with him within a few minutes, I told him that I wanted to keep speaking with him, but the only way that was going to happen was if he went ahead and let Jessica leave the bank so we could talk in private. He hesitated for a moment and then said that he believed he could do that, and I said once I know Jessica is out then I will go ahead and we'll keep talking. Once I could hear him tell Jessica that she was free to go, I heard what sounded like a female try frantically to get out of the building. After a few moments, I asked Tommy if she was out, he advised that yes she had made it out safely. So we resumed our conversation. At that point I kind of took a step back and realized that I probably needed to leave the house and get up to City Bank. I wasn't sure if other officers had been notified of what was going on. At the time I assumed I was the only one who knew what was going on, simply because I wasn't watching the news, I was just hanging out at the house. So I drove up to City Bank still talking to Mr. Beatles the entire time. Once I arrived on scene I observed several marked units that had blocked off the area. I drove up, saw chief Esparza, advised him of what was going on, that I had Mr. Beatles on the phone. He quickly got me into a car with some hostage negotiators who were absolutely instrumental, and helping me to continue my efforts in building rapport, and trying to speak with Mr. Beatles and making sure this came to a peaceful ending. We spoke for several minutes before we went to the command center. We spoke for quite a while in the command center, just trying to assure him that the only way to end this would be to come out peacefully, that we didn't want to see him harmed. That that's the way that we need to end this. So after probably a good hour and a half or so of speaking with him from the time we got the call, we were able to convince Mr. Beatles that his family…that he really had a strong connection with his family. We really played on that to make sure he realized that they were worth living for and that they needed him in their lives. Short time later, he was able to tell me that he was ready to come out. I notified everybody else who was on the scene, that he told me that the SWAT was ready to take over and I advised Mr. Beatles exactly what he needed to do to come out. And that as long as he complied, that he would be safe and everything would go fine. It was my understanding, obviously I was separated so I didn't see how it went, but it's my understanding that the SWAT did a phenomenal job in taking Mr. Beatles into custody. Another fellow K9 handler was also on the scene, helping to take him into custody as well. The big thing that I take from this is that, you know, every one of us….our family sometimes don't understand that there is no such thing as off duty with us. Even sitting at home on your time off, just kicking back…enjoying being away, being with your family…there is still a part of you who is still on duty and for me, it just happened to be my day. I just happened to be the one who got the call. But we are 420 officers strong and anybody else in this entire department could've gotten that call and would've made the same decision that I had made. Obviously our number one goal is to take a hostage first, and everything else is secondary, including ourselves. Once I knew that the hostage was safe, I could take a step back and breathe and go on and do what I needed to do from there. The people that I really want to tell what a great job they did…the patrol guys that got there first, set up the perimeter, got everybody that was really in the line of fire safely away. You know, unfortunately citizens want to know what is going on and that is absolutely their right, but sometimes they don't realize that they are in danger as well. So the patrol guys did a phenomenal job making sure that they were safe, getting them out of the line of fire. SWAT team did phenomenal by going in and securing the immediate perimeter, making sure that they were safe and could see what was going on from their vantage point. The last of the people that really didn't get a lot of credit, but they should have, were the rest of the patrol officers that were not on scene. Because we had numerous officers on duty and off duty that were over there at City Bank, but the whole city still needed to be taken care of. Those guys stepped up and they really took care of the city when there was one section of the city that was falling apart, they stepped up and took care of what needed to be done. I don't believe any calls went unanswered and that's a tribute to them. Although it was my time to be in there, I'm not a negotiator, I don't know if they told you that before. I have no training in hostage negations. Corporal Nobelt??? Is a hostage negotiator that was there with some of the other ones but he was my direct line of contact. He was absolutely instrumental in helping me if I did kind of stumble, if there was some things that I needed to talk to Mr. Beatles about and it was just a great team effort. That's the main thing that I take from this, is that you never know, when you're on duty or off duty, what the next call is going to be. I just can't thank the rest of my team and the P.D. enough for what they did yesterday.

SGT Jonathan Stewart:

Something that we touched on yesterday I just want to confirm for everybody: there were no injuries stemming from yesterday's incident. Nobody was taken to the hospital. Our initial investigation shows that Mr. Beatles in fact did not have a weapon. He had a toy gun that he simulated to appear to be a real pistol. However whether the pistol was real or fake, he did indeed indicate that he was armed and he did place those people in the bank, the hostage in particular, in fear for their life. Mr. Beatles, upon being taken into custody, was arrested. He has been booked into the LPD holding facility on charge of aggravated kidnapping, which is a first-degree felony. At this time I want to specifically thank the FBI and DPS for their assistance yesterday, as well as numerous other agencies that responded to the scene. We had numerous state, local, even federal officers that responded to the scene to assist however they could when they heard the call going out. Some just basically as traffic control, but all of them played a direct role in the situation yesterday and we deeply appreciate their assistance. Also Lubbock EMS and Lubbock Fire Department's assistance as well, we appreciate greatly. I'd like to thank Mr. Cory Newsom, the President of City Bank, and his employees for their assistance and cooperation in this incident yesterday. The way that the employees handled the situation is a great credit to that organization. They were very helpful and cooperative with the police department and they played a large role in helping us resolve this. Also as Officer Nesbitt touched on, our SWAT and negotiator teams did a tremendous job yesterday. In a situation like this, it could very easily ended differently and very easily could've ended with someone being injured or someone being killed. In this case there was not one injury, even the hostage taker was taken into custody without incident. So where lives could've easily been lost yesterday, they were not. That is directly due to the efforts of our SWAT, negotiator teams, our patrol officers, and investigations and everyone who was out on the scene yesterday. Also, as officer Nesbitt mentioned, it did take a tremendous amount of manpower yesterday just to manage the scene. It was a large scene, there were a lot of people there, a lot of people coming and going and it took a lot of effort to get things under control, to get people to a safe place. So our patrol officers did a tremendous job yesterday responding and getting everything set up, getting the situation under control and at the same time we had several patrol officers who were not able to partake in the call out itself, but they still had their regular patrol responsibilities that they maintained and there was no loss of law enforcement across the city thanks to those patrol officers. They did a tremendous job. That is all we have as far as statements right now, if there are any questions, I will take those.

Reporter:

So people have been saying he had a mental condition, could you elaborate on that?

SGT Jonathan Stewart:

At this point, I don't know what his state of mind or what his motives were and that's something I can't speak to at this time. At this point what we are addressing are his actions and that he did enter that bank claiming to have a weapon, placing people in fear of their lives and taking a hostage.

Reporter:

(Question inaudible)

SGT Jonathan Stewart:

Just some general business, I don't know exactly what his business was. He spoke with some of the bank employees, as far as which ones he spoke to, I am unsure at this time.

Reporter:

Since this was in a bank, is it a federal charge with aggravated kidnapping and what penalties could he face in general?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

As far as the federal aspect of it, we have been in close contact with the FBI, they were present at the scene yesterday. At this time it doesn't look like the FBI will be pursuing any federal charges, so more than likely this will remain on state level. The first degree felony for aggravated kidnapping could carry a sentence of five to ninty nine years in addition to a possible ten thousand dollar fine.

Reporter:

Any specifics as to the weapon?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

Yes, it was a toy pistol that he had wrapped in electrical tape to make it appear to be a real pistol.

Reporter:

Do you know if he got that prior to going there or do you have any idea to when he got that gun?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

He had it on his person prior to coming to the bank, I don't know what time he purchased or acquired it.

Reporter:

Anything in regards to his state of mind that you could elaborate on?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

No, at this point again, I can't speak on to what his state of mind or what his motives may have been. Again we just focus on his actions and what took place.

Reporter:

Based on his actions, do you believe he was suicidal at the time?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

Again I can't comment on what his motives may have been or his state of mind. Again we are just looking at his actions and the people he placed in danger and in fear for their life.

Reporter:

Do you know if that was one of the banks he frequently went in?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

I don't know if he is a regular customer there or not.

Reporter:

Had he told someone in the bank that he wanted police to come in and shoot him?

SGT. Jonathan Stewart:

At this point I can't go into any of the comments that passed between the negotiators or witnesses or anything of that type.

END TRANSCRIPT

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