Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suspect Frees 2 Hostages in Orlando

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suspect Frees 2 Hostages in Orlando

Article excerpt

ORLANDO -- A murder suspect holding five hostages in a suburban home released two of the four children yesterday as police tried to end the two-day standoff.

Both children, an 8-year-old boy and a girl under 1, were in good health, although the boy was hungry and thirsty, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said.

Beary said the suspect, Jamie Dean Petron, 41, had asked police to see the children reunited with their parents on live television after releasing them.

"Everybody is entitled to make mistakes, and he's made them and admitted to it," Beary said. "But folks, this is a very positive thing."

A woman in her 40s, a 16-year-old girl and a 9-month-old girl remained inside the home yesterday afternoon, police said. Earlier yesterday, police had fired a shot at Petron in an attempt to end the standoff but missed.

Shortly after 5 p.m., negotiators released to the media a taped statement from Petron, at his request. On the tape, Petron said he didn't mean to hurt anyone.

"This is not me, it's something that totally happened," he said. "All I can say is deep in my heart I am really apologetic. Don't think I'm the devil."

Petron also had a message for his son and baby granddaughter.

"I love you guys. Maybe we'll see each other some day," he said.

Petron took the family hostage Saturday after shooting an Orange County sheriff's deputy in the leg as the deputy tried to arrest him outside a nearby grocery store, police said. Petron is suspected in the Friday shooting death of a Pompano Beach convenience store clerk, authorities said.

Petron apparently did not know the family before he burst into their home in the Meadow Woods subdivision, south of Orlando. About 20 nearby homes were evacuated.

He had not threatened to harm anyone, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons said. Petron had demanded food and "other things," but police did not release details. …

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