Brooklyn man behind hostage standoff at money transfer store acted out of extreme desperation: cops

Police officials address Brooklyn hostage standoff
A local, down on his luck man was cuffed by police in Brooklyn Saturday night after he took hostages inside a money transfer store, authorities said.

The Brooklyn man who took hostages and engaged police in a tense armed standoff at a money transfer store on Saturday night had some serious money troubles which led him to commit a violent act of desperation, police officials said.

According to NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, the two-hour-long standoff began at around 7:45 p.m. on June 8 inside the Darwin Money Transfer store on Irving Avenue near Linden Street in Bushwick.

Police said the suspect, a 38-year-old man, walked into the location posing as a customer — then approached workers and announced his intention to rob the place. Two employees and a customer were inside the location at the time; authorities said one worker was able to escape and call 911.

That initiated a massive police response which included the 83rd Precinct, the Emergency Services Unit and members of the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team. Drones were also deployed to survey the surroundings and give police further intel about the situation.

“When the officers responded, they saw that the door to the premises was barricaded with multiple chairs,” Chief Maddrey, said. “We immediately deployed drones up. We started a dialogue with the male.”

At one point, police sources said, the suspect had been spotted holding a gun to a hostage’s head, then pointing it at officers outside. But Maddrey noted the responding officers exercised restraint and instead chose to talk with the man to pursue a peaceful end to the impasse.

The firearm used in the robbery was apparently fake, police said.Photo courtesy of NYPD

During negotiations, police got the suspect to reveal his apparent motives. He told police that he had been suffering from money troubles and gambling addiction, and wound up behind on his rent payments. 

NYPD negotiators also brought in members of the suspect’s family to try and talk him into diffusing the situation. In time, the negotiations worked.

“They [cops] are able to relate to him, they are able to offer services. We did, at one point, get his brother, his brother was able to help us communicate. Eventually, his wife, one of his sons, came to the scene,” Maddrey said. “We were able to use them and more and more family members came and we were able to use them to leverage a surrender.”

Though police were able to get the suspect to surrender, they said it did not end with complications. The man exited through a back window and climbed down a ladder, but lost his footing along the way and fell a short distance. Though he briefly hyperventilated, Maddrey said, he was not seriously injured.

Police took him into custody and brought him to a local hospital for an evaluation. The two hostages were also medically evaluated. No serious injuries were reported.

Cops later determined that the purported gun that the suspect brandished was a fake.