ST. LOUIS – Police say that prisoners took a 70-year-old guard hostage at the city Justice Center. They held him hostage on the fourth floor for several hours. The initial call for help came around 6 a.m.
The guard, a corrections officer for the Justice Center, was held hostage and released around 8:30 a.m. Authorities cleared the scene around 9:30 a.m. The guard suffered minor injuries and was placed in an ambulance and taken to a hospital for treatment.
Prosecutors plan to move forward with criminal charges against the two detainees accused of the hostage situation, though investigators have not yet disclosed what those charges might be or which detainees are accused.
Charles Coyle, Interim Director of the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, and Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah, the St. Louis Commissioner of Corrections, shared updates on how the situation unfolded Tuesday afternoon.
Coyle says the incident unfolded in the 6 a.m. hour and is linked to at least two detainees. While breakfast was being served at the Justice Center, two detainees made demands and took the corrections officer hostage. It’s unclear exactly what led up to this situation.
After calls for assistance, several officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and a SWAT team arrived at the scene. Coyle says the St. Louis officers, at some point used “less-than-lethal” forces to take control of the situation. Coyle nor police have disclosed what kind of force was used.
Clemons-Abdullah says it’s standard for the detainees to get three meals a day, including breakfast around the 6 a.m. hour. She said there was nothing unusual about Tuesday’s operations in serving food before the disturbance, and the commissioner’s office did not see any issues with what was being served.
Clemons-Abdullah learned of only one demand from the detainees: pizza.
The situation was cleared around 9:30 a.m. There was a large police presence on the scene, and the St. Louis SWAT Team was called in to assist. Tucker was closed between Market and Clark during the standoff.
An independent team of investigators is reviewing video and working to determine a possible motive in the hostage situation. Additional details are limited at this time. FOX 2 will update as more information becomes available.