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Behind the scenes of tragic Gwinnett County standoff | News

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Behind the scenes of tragic Gwinnett County standoff

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – Officials are providing more information about what happened and what went wrong in a SWAT standoff that ended tragically in Gwinnett County on Wednesday.

Two-year-old Phillip Nguyen died after police said he was shot by his father, Thy Anh Ho, in a Buford home. Ho also died from what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Gwinnett Police say the fact that the hostage was a child might have played an impact mentally on officers, but not tactically. They told 11Alive’s Ryan Kruger that they handled it exactly how they would approach every hostage standoff.

LINK | Timeline of a tragedy: New details released in Buford standoff

For more than 19 hours the Beyers Landing neighborhood was on lockdown. Neighbors were prisoners in their own home, while Gwinnett County Police were trying to talk down suspect Thy Ho.

AUDIO FILE | Listen to the first 911 call

So why did they wait so long?

Police knew that Ho had fortified his position by moving a dresser in front of the bedroom door. They also tell said they were in contact with Ho all night.

“It’s not prudent into a hostage situation to attempt entry into the room,” Washington said.

It wasn’t until Ho fired three shots -- one at officers -- that they entered the bedroom.

PHOTOS | Inside the home of the deadly hostage standoff

Only 11Alive was able to take you inside the home where Thy Ho held his son Phillip hostage for 19 hours. What we saw helped paint a picture of what happened.
Doors were smashed by battering rams; there are giants holes leading into the master bedroom.

Police said Ho’s mood changed several times throughout the standoff. At times he was apologetic, while others he was angry. At one point in time he asked to speak with his girlfriend.

MUG SHOT HISTORY | Man accused of holding 2-year-old hostage

Hugyen Nguyen told us she believed she might have been able to talk her boyfriend down, but police wouldn’t let that happen.

“Generally direct third-party negotiations are avoided, especially in hostage situations, for fear of the suspect making a last statement to their loved one,” Washington said.

Police said they’ll use this tragedy as a learning experience in hopes of preventing this from ever happening again.

“They’ll comb through the timeline and critique exactly what took place,” Washington said.

The Beyers Landing Community has set up a GoFundMe page to help Nguyen with food, funeral costs and home repairs after the standoff. Click here for more information: https://www.gofundme.com/k5a3febw




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