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Man Holding Two Hostages in Walt Disney Resort Hotel

Aired June 29, 2000 - 4:32 p.m. ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The Orange County Sheriff's Department in Florida is holding a news conference, bringing reporters up to date on what's going on at the Boardwalk Inn.


QUESTION: What can you tell about where he is in the room and the layout of that room?

KEVIN BEARY, ORANGE COUNTRY SHERIFF DEPT.: Well, I am not going to say anything about the layout of the room or anything like that, because we have a tactical operation going and at the same time, I have to protect my deputies and the firefighters that are on the scene also.


BEARY: I don't have all those details, but I will tell you this, Disney security has worked with us, they are working with us as we speak, and we've got fine cooperation.

QUESTION: Have you heard the negotiation going on, Sheriff, can you describe his state of mind at all?

BEARY: Well, all we know is we are just trying to keep him calmed down. That's it, pretty much...

QUESTION: Sir, is he watching television, and what do you mean by calm down? Is he not calmed down, is he irrational?

BEARY: Well, let's leave it that way.

He's not watching television, because we've done some things so he can't watch television.

All right, because again, one of the other things that I have to worry about is not only the hostages, but I have to also worry about the safety of my own people and I can't have it broadcast on television.

QUESTION: Can you confirm exactly who is in that room, Sheriff?

BEARY: No, ma'am, we can't because -- I can tell you this...

QUESTION: How many people are in the room?

BEARY: We don't know, but we think there is more -- at least two, but we don't know for sure.



BEARY: All we've been told is he's heavily armed.

QUESTION: Sheriff, where is he from, how long has he been here?

BEARY: He's here on vacation and the rest of it we are trying to get on the descriptor file and everything else. We're trying to piece all this together and at the same time run a tactical operation and a hostage negotiation at the same time.

QUESTION: What's the significance of the helicopter coming down?

BEARY: Our helicopter is here because it's an emergency medical helicopter, so if something does go astray, or anybody gets hurt, we have immediate access to the hostage.

QUESTION: We understand that his 4-year-old son is in there with him along with some type of room service worker, two hostages, can you confirm that much?

BEARY: Well, that's probably pretty good information, but we don't know if there is anybody else in there.

QUESTION: But it is his son?

BEARY: But we think it's his son.


BEARY: We have evacuated several rooms and we are closing off certain sections of the hotel.

QUESTION: How many rooms?

BEARY: No, ma'am, and quite frankly I don't think Disney is going to allow you to speak to him anyway. We have to keep things calm.

QUESTION: What are we doing about (OFF-MIKE) Are people being told what's going, or are they being rerouted?

BEARY: Pretty much rerouted. And as we've seen all day long, Disney has their security force here. They've brought in additional people. They've worked with the super. They've kept all of the traffic away from the command post. We can't ask for any better cooperation than this.

QUESTION: What did the adult hostage say when you spoke with him? BEARY: We -- it's off and on, folks. The negotiators are handling that, I am not speaking with them, all right.

QUESTION: Sheriff, when was the last time you spoke with him, or one of your negotiators spoke with him, or is it constant contact?

BEARY: Within the last few minutes.

QUESTION: In the last few minutes, OK. And so far, you're optimistic based on the fact that he is still talking?

BEARY: Yes, and that's good.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) domestic situation?

BEARY: We don't have any of the details, we are going to try to piece all that together when we get some family members here and all.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Did he stay here? Was he a guest?

BEARY: Well, apparently he's a guest, but we are trying to confirm that too.

QUESTION: Did he -- is his wife a Disney employee?

BEARY: I don't have -- I have not heard that. I don't know, can't confirm that.


BEARY: Everybody has been very good about it. You know, it's kind of interesting, we were doing a SWAT demonstration for the Boy Scouts today and we were right there off of 417 at the range. For all days to have something to happen, we were right there. So, bottom line is I'm very pleased with the way things are going, and we'll update you as soon as we can.

QUESTION: But you had -- your cell phones have gone out earlier today. Are communications a problem at all at this point?

BEARY: The bottom line is we've taken care of some of those communications, but, yes, I believe Sprint cut the Nextel lines this morning, and fortunately, several of the sheriff's office not only have Nextel, but we have AT&T and Bell South, so everything is working.

QUESTION: One last question for you, describe the hostage negotiator team, how many men and women are on that unit and what is their biggest challenge in doing this?

BEARY: Well, the biggest challenge is we have both men and women here, we have a staff psychologist here, and they're all working and trying to talk to this gentlemen and what we want is a peaceful solution. We don't want anybody hurt.

QUESTION: Sheriff, we understand (OFF-MIKE) and he's threatening to kill himself. Is that still the situation, is that what you're talking to him about at this point still?

BEARY: Well, we know that was part of it, we also know that he called the Orlando FBI office and asked for their hostage negotiator. The FBI cooperated with us, immediately transferred the call to us, and then the special agent in charge of the FBI, Phil Byers (ph), has already sent that negotiator down here to be with us.

QUESTION: It seems like that was somewhat planned. That's not a number you would think about calling right away.

BEARY: You might say that this is probably happened.

QUESTION: Unusual for him to call for the negotiators themselves, correct?

BEARY: I would say that, yes.

QUESTION: Sheriff, did you say if indeed there are some of his family members on the scene right now helping you with your negotiations?

BEARY: They are either here or in route. We have -- we are trying to get them logistically here and of course right now we are talking about rush hour traffic and traffic delays because of the rain. But right now, things are going pretty good.

QUESTION: Sheriff, heavily armed with what?

BEARY: We don't have all that information, but that's what's been told to us and that's what we're planning.

QUESTION: Sheriff, (OFF-MIKE) family in this area, if you are talking about rush hour possibly, is he from out of state or is he from around here?

BEARY: I don't have that. I do know that he has kin folks within a couple counties away, maybe even some here. We're just trying to run him down and get all of that put together.


BEARY: Well, it gets a little more interesting when it gets dark, but right now we're also in a hotel room and I think we can control a lot of that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make you aware that the situation is limited to one room in the Boardwalk resort. We have evacuated several of the rooms in the resort. It's a very large resort.

WATERS: All right, there you heard the latest from Kevin Beary of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. I'll hit the high points. He is talking, that's good news. He wants to see family, that's being arranged. Family is on the way, some a couple of counties away, it's rush hour. That may take a while. Right now, hostage negotiators are at work keeping the man calmed down. There is a psychologist present.

The man claims to have arms and he claims to have at least two hostages, the sheriff's department is saying there are at least two hostages, a food service worker and his young son. The best bet is on the hostages they know about, there may be more people in the room, says Kevin Beary of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Disney security is working to keep order at the hotel, keep the guests safe. Right now, everything is going good, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. We'll keep you apprised as developments warrant. We'll take a break.

And "SHOWBIZ TODAY" will continue when we come back.



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