PD: Man took estranged wife hostage in East Price Hill and set home on fire

Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-05 00:25:00-04

CINCINNATI -- A man took his estranged wife hostage Friday morning in her East Price Hill home, forcing a seven-hour SWAT standoff that culminated in a deadly fire.

Amanda Sharp, who lives across the street from the scene, said she knew her neighbors' marriage had reached a troubled place but never expected it to progress as far as it did. She learned Friday morning that the husband had broken a restraining order by returning to the home.

"(Their) son called my fiance and me," she said. "He heard his dad, and he knew his dad wasn't supposed to be here. We came over and got him, his girlfriend and the older son's girlfriend out of the house."

According to Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate, more than 100 police and SWAT officers spent seven hours negotiating with the man to safely release his wife, whose name has not been publicized. While they spoke, other SWAT members successfully snuck the man's wife out of her home through a back door.

When the hostage-taker learned this, Neudigate said, he became "distraught" and set the house on fire with himself inside.

"I think the big takeaway (is) we're successful in one measure: We safely extracted the hostage," Neudigate said. "She was uninjured. It's sad we weren't able to talk the individual out, and we probably lost one of our citizens today."

The man's body has not been recovered from the remains of the home, but Neudigate confirmed police believe he died in the conflagration. Fire crews returned to the scene with excavation equipment later in the day.

Amanda Sharp said the end was bittersweet: Although she, like Neudigate, was glad to see the wife escape safely, she wished police had been able to help the husband as well.

"I was hoping he'd come out of the house so he could be arrested and get more treatment that he needed to get," she said.