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Ex-girlfriend of escaped inmate details moments leading up to SWAT standoff death

FaceTime Thomas Cromwell
Posted at 11:55 PM, Jul 12, 2022

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story referred to a subject we interviewed as the "girlfriend" of Thomas Cromwell. It has since been updated.

Members of the Warren County Tactical Unit shot and killed an escaped inmate following a 12-hour SWAT standoff at a Mason hotel.

Thomas Cromwell and another inmate escaped from the River City Correctional Center on July 9. Warren County prosecutor David Fornshell said Cromwell held a woman at knifepoint and made statements that led police to believe her life was in danger.

WCPO 9 News spoke with Cromwell’s ex-girlfriend. We’re not identifying her for her safety.

“I tried to help him. And I couldn’t,” she said. “He only had a certain amount of time left. He was almost done. I knew he was going to do something stupid."

Cromwell's ex-girlfriend said he wanted her to go to the Mason hotel where he was staying, but she said she told him she "couldn’t come up there."

Law enforcement officials believe Cromwell met a woman in the parking lot of the Baymont Inn on Water Park Drive. Fornshell said Tuesday the woman he held hostage was with him of her own free will to start, but when police attempted to contact Cromwell, he escalated things to a hostage situation.

Cromwell’s ex-girlfriend detailed the moments on a FaceTime call made early Tuesday morning. She said she tried talking Cromwell down.

“Please don’t do anything," she said in the call. "Please don’t hurt her. Don’t hurt yourself."

"They've rejected my calls, rejected my offers," he said in the call. "I'm not letting **** out until I get what I want."

She said the hostage was terrified but wasn’t panicked.

“One of his last words was tell my boy that I love him,” his girlfriend said.

Minutes after the FaceTime call, Fornshell said the tactical team made the decision to force entry into the room and confront Cromwell. Fornshell said Cromwell was holding a knife up to the woman.

Fornshell said Cromwell was killed by a single gunshot wound.

“He said the demons were the only person there for him, nobody else was," the ex-girlfriend said. "He said everybody gave up on him. He said that’s why this happened. He was trying so hard to do good — nobody believed him. He just went off the rails.”

Cromwell's ex-girlfriend says "Tommy" meant the world to her. She tells us she still loved him and wanted to get him the help he needed. She says he was not a monster and doesn't believe he would have hurt anyone.

Fornshell said they’re focused on gathering a complete picture as to what got Cromwell to the point of his death.

“To where he’s escaping ... a charge of assault and child endangering, to now we’re threatening a life of a hostage, not sure what caused it to make bad decision after bad decision,” said Fornshell.

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