Ex-cop allegedly held 3 hostage

January 5, 2009 8:16:41 AM PST
A former South Carolina policeman holding an infant and two women hostage in a Georgia motel surrendered peacefully Monday after a 13-hour standoff. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

FBI spokesman Steve Lazarus said David Dietz, 25, surrendered around 9:15 a.m. at the Red Roof Inn motel off Interstate 20 about 60 miles east of Atlanta.

Dietz had been holed up in a second floor room with the infant, his estranged wife, 29-year-old Eva Arce-Perez, and 17-year-old Jamie Lynn Burgess.

Authorities said Dietz was suspected of kidnapping the three Saturday night in West Columbia, S.C., while wearing a black uniform emblazoned with the word "police". The standoff started Sunday night after authorities issued a missing child alert and learned Dietz might be headed in the direction of Atlanta.

Georgia State Patrol officers spotted Dietz's sport utility vehicle in the motel parking lot and called for assistance. Shots were fired from the motel room and authorities evacuated other guests from the three-story motel.

Lazarus said Dietz was placed in federal custody and will be charged with kidnapping in South Carolina. In Georgia, he faces charges including assaulting an officer, since two agents he is accused of shooting at Sunday night were with the FBI.

Witnesses said a younger woman who emerged from the room, believed to be the 17-year-old, also was placed in a sheriff's car and driven away.

Georgia State Patrol Lt. Paul Cosper said he could not confirm who the woman inside the patrol car was. Authorities have not released details about Dietz' relationship with the younger woman.

Dietz stepped onto the walkway outside the motel room holding the baby in his arms as he surrendered to police.

Columbia, S.C., police spokesman Brick Lewis said Dietz was hired by the department in June 2006 and had just recently been sworn in as a police officer before he resigned in October 2006.

Dietz also worked as a probation officer until August 2007, said Pete O'Boyle, spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

The FBI did not immediately release details of what led to the surrender. "Really what you're seeing is the result of some outstanding hostage negotiations," Lazarus said.

Cosper described the negotiations as a "slow, tedious process."

Patrick Rogers, 60, of Dillard, was staying at the motel and said he received a call on the room phone around 10 p.m. Sunday telling him to stay inside until an officer came to get him. Within 30 seconds, a Georgia State Patrol officer and a couple of local police officers arrived at his room.

"They told me just to come to the lobby and not take anything with me." He said he and about five other guests were taken across the street to a Super 8 motel.

"They didn't tell us what was going on. They said it was a dangerous situation."

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