Behind the Surrender of Jamie Hood

10:33 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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11 Alive's truck fed video of Hood's surrender to competing TV stations and CNN. Doug Richards was the only reporter at the scene.

Jamie Hood forced his way into the north Athens home of an acquaintance early Thursday, commandeering a set of keys from a girl who'd left the house to go to school, investigators say.   

Hood stayed in the house from Thursday morning until his capture Friday night, according to the GBI director.

"We are certain that the persons in the apartment were not free to leave and their lives were in danger," said Vernon Keenan, GBI director.

Keenan says each person who visited the home over the two day period was taken hostage -- eleven total, including children. None, he says, is likely to face charges for cooperating with Hood.

"They were acting out of fear and they cooperated with law enforcement later," Keenan said.

Keenan says Jamie Hood had been high on cocaine, making erratic demands while negotiating with law enforcement Friday.

Hood demanded that the GBI enlist a TV crew to transmit a live video feed of his surrender -- to ensure that Hood wasn't shot on sight. Keenan decided to comply.

"When I met with the reporters I just laid out what we needed. And (11 Alive was) the first to volunteer," Keenan said.  The GBI led the truck and crew to the scene.  WXIA had arranged to feed the video signal to competing Atlanta stations.  WXIA photographer Tyson Paul managed the camera. 

The GBI put 11 Alive's live truck directly in front of the house where Hood and the hostages were. Keenan says there were 150 or more police officers surrounding the house. Some were in full military gear, hiding just outside the house. There were snipers in trees.

Next to the live truck, there was a hostage negotiator, talking with Hood by cell phone.

When the door opened at 11:17pm, a man and woman emerged, followed by Hood. Keenan says he deliberately put two children behind him -- figuring their presence would decrease the chances of police gunfire.

Keenan says the video feed was the catalyst in ending the three-day manhunt. 

"It was (Athens Clarke County) Chief (Jack) Lumpkin and my assessment that this would be our best option, that if we did not take this step to resolve this, it would escalate into violence," said Keenan.












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