SSPD officer resolves hostage situation Wed. in Rains County
Four-hour session tense, but outcome ‘rewarding’
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Nov. 3, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs police negotiator Sgt. Norman Sanders successfully resolved a hostage situation in Rains County Wednesday following a tense, four-hour session.

Rains County Sheriff David Traylor said the chain of events began just before 9 a.m. Wednesday when his office received a report of a fight in progress. A suspect from the fight was in a car being chased by another vehicle.

As Sheriff Traylor, accompanied by other deputies and highway patrol troopers, arrived in the area, the suspect vehicle was located. When officers attempted to make a stop, the driver, identified as Steven Reed Ivy, fled at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour through Emory.

Traylor said the suspect, Ivy, was known for violent behavior and running from officers. After the chase led back to Ivy's residence, the man jumped from his car and ran into his house with officers only steps behind.

Inside the house, Sheriff Traylor said, the man grabbed a woman and pulled a large knife from a kitchen drawer. The sheriff said the man threatened to kill the woman if officers did not leave.

At that point, Traylor called for assistance from Sulphur Springs Police Department's Tactical team and hostage negotiator Sanders.

Sanders said the man was in a pantry with his arms around a woman and a large knife held against her chest when he arrived on the scene. An infant, approximately 8 months old, was also in the house.  Sanders said getting the child out was a first priority.

Sander's said the suspect exhibited emotional highs and lows as the man's mental state ranged from extremely aggressive to the point of tears.

During the four-hour session, Sanders said, he was able to get to within abut six feet of the man, but no closer. 

As the SWAT team moved into place behind Sanders, he moved a house plant to give other officers a better line of sight.

When the suspect asked why the plant was moved, Sanders said he told him it was so other officers could get a better shot at him.

The turning point in the negotiations came when Sgt. Sanders asked about the suspect's child, who would be arriving home on a school bus, and what effect the situation would have on him.

A short time later, Ivy released his hold on the hostage and she broke away, according to a statement from Sheriff Traylor. At that point, tactical officers rushed the man.

The sheriff said the man attempted to stab himself, but officers prevented him from causing any injury to himself.

Sgt. Sanders, who is one of two trained negotiators on the Sulphur Springs police force, called the results of the long session "rewarding" because the situation was resolved without any injuries.

He said having the tactical team behind him provided a degree of protection as well as a "comfort zone" in which to talk to the suspect.

Rains County authorities said Steven Reed Ivy is facing charges of felony evading in a vehicle, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault against a public servant and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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