Stun gun ended hostage incident

Handcuffed suspect held officers at bay with scissors at Northeastern District station


A stun gun ended Thursday's standoff at a Baltimore police station, but not before a suspect had tried to hang himself, hit an officer in the head with a 3-foot-long halogen light bulb, and managed to take a civilian worker hostage using a pair of scissors, according to police charging documents.

Rodney Bethea, 21, who has at least two burglary convictions, had been arrested in connection with a marijuana possession case Thursday morning and was taken to the Northeastern District for processing and questioning, charging documents state.

Police say Bethea somehow managed to swing his handcuffed hands from behind his back and in front of him. When he was finally caught, he still had the handcuffs on, police officials said.

Charging documents give the following account of the incident:

After Bethea was interviewed by detectives, he was waiting to be taken to the Central Booking and Intake Center. He tried to hang himself with a string inside an office used by detectives.

After that failed, he unscrewed the bulb from a light fixture and struck an officer who opened the door to check on him. Then he fled into a room with a female clerical worker as hostage and held police at bay with a pair of scissors.

Hostage negotiators and a SWAT team converged on the building during. When SWAT team members forced open the door of the office, they used a stun gun to subdue the man, the charging documents state.

The officer who was initially assaulted was Paul Southard, according to charging documents. He was treated at Mercy Hospital for minor injuries and released Thursday afternoon, police officials said.

The clerical worker, Jessica Macas-Lowe, was unharmed in the incident, police said.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, a man who identified himself as Macas-Lowe's husband said she was taking some time off from work because of the incident.

"She's doing well considering what she went through," the man said.

Bethea faces a drug possession charge for the original arrest. In connection with the incident, he faces charges of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, use of a deadly weapon with intent to injure and second-degree escape, charging documents state.

At Bethea's bail review yesterday at Central Booking, a judge ordered him held without bail and required that he undergo a suicide evaluation, according to the city state's attorney's office.

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