LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The suspect in a lengthy hostage standoff was released from prison six months ago and was still under the supervision of Ohio's Adult Parole Authority, state records show.
Donald Tobias Gazaway surrendered Sunday morning, nearly 30 hours after the standoff began. The 10-year-old hostage was safe.
Butler County, Ohio law enforcement had been at an apartment complex since about 1 a.m. Saturday. Sheriff Richard Jones said the standoff began after some kind of altercation: The man was visiting a friend or acquaintance at the apartment. During that altercation, everyone but a 10-year-old boy fled, Jones said, and the suspect took him hostage.
It ended quietly at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday when the suspect simply gave up. Butler County officials said the man came outside, using the boy as a shield. A photographer saw a person with their hands up. Not longer after that, numerous law enforcement vehicles left the scene.
Gazaway, 31, was booked into the Butler County Jail on charges of kidnapping, felonious assault and inducing panic. That's according to online county records. State records show Gazaway served more than four years in prison for felonious assault and a gun specification out of Hamilton County. He was released in July.
The boy went to a hospital so doctors could be sure he was OK. His mother said she was "happy that this turned out right."
"He's a brave little boy. All he wanted to do at the end of the day was protect mommy. I think he was more concerned about me being safe versus him being stuck with the bad guy," she said.
The suspect was like family, she said, but he acted strangely and aggressively before the standoff.
"Mommy won't be dating for a while or bringing any guys around my son," she said.
Jones said the man fired nearly two dozen rounds at officers, but nobody was hurt. Law enforcement did not shoot back, he said.
Lots of challenges for the SWAT team as we get into evening hours. Cold, dark, and officers are exhausted from 18 hour standoff. @butlersheriff says patience is key, with 10 yr old as hostage. pic.twitter.com/53J6BO8rbs
Jones said the situation was one of the longest he's been involved in. Negotiators gave food to the man and the child Saturday evening, and Jones said warming stations were set up for first responders. He didn't think his office had any prior contacts with the man, whom he said was "very cautious" of officers.
“When we get called out to stuff like this usually we don’t expect it to be 24 hours ... something like this we just do the best we can, take our time and make it happen," Jones said.