BSCO Talks Standoff, Hostage Procedure - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

BSCO Talks Standoff, Hostage Procedure

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Bay County, Fla. -

After a stand-off lands one Washington County woman in critical condition Tuesday afternoon, those involved in the incident are speaking about their approach to the scenario.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office, which provided aid to Washington County, say they have a certain procedure that they work through in these cases. Tuesday, it led to the decision of deadly force.

"I believe that our guys did what they thought were right in this deadly force situation, and they reacted," said Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

The reaction was swift. After a non lethal rubber bullet wasn't enough to take down 62-year-old Mary Ethel Loflin, BCSO says the SWAT team was forced to take a more deadly aim.

"You try to shoot a leg, and you miss, it's just too risky and not as assured of stopping that threat," Major Tommy Ford said.

He says as their records show, it's something they train for.

"It's a very delicate, very dangerous situation," Major Ford said. "So two specific teams we use during an event like this would be our hostage negotiation team as well as our SWAT team."

Several negotiators played a role yesterday, including Sheriff Frank McKeithen. Before they took action, there were several questions they sought to answer.

"Are they just troubled, seeking help, wanting help, wanting attention?" Major Ford said. "Are they intent on harming themselves?"

"You've heard the term suicide by cop...are they intent on our actions causing us having to use deadly force?"

Major Ford says all indications were, Loflin was prepared to end it all.

"No progress was made and she was intent on harming us or harming herself," Major Ford said. "There had already been shots fired at law enforcement officers, so a criminal action had already occurred."

In addition to firing two shots at the unit of the deputy who responded initially, Loflin again took aim at SWAT officers. The major says that's what necessitated the difficult shot.

"I doubt that anyone slept very well last night. It was not how the sheriff or I or any of these guys want to see the situation end."

Investigators say the 'National Crisis Hotline' directed them to Loflin the day of the shooting. They still don't know what led her to her actions. If you are in crisis and need help or someone to talk to locally, you can contact the Life Management Center at 522-4485.