Reports detail last minutes in fatal standoff - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Reports detail last minutes in fatal standoff

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Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2005 11:09 am | Updated: 9:37 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The hostage negotiator asked Brian Hermes if he was thinking of killing himself.

Hermes said he already had.

Surrounded by police with no way of escape, Hermes climbed into a car and sped toward Mesa SWAT officers, who killed him in two quick gunfire volleys.

Police reports released Wednesday depict the last few hours of Hermes’ life during the Aug. 13 standoff when police say he shot neighbor Jim Early dead about noon, then holed up in the man’s house.

In several conversations with 911 dispatchers and negotiators, he asks where the "drugs" are in the house and threatens to kill a female hostage.

Meanwhile, Early, 61, is lying facedown in the driveway as a group of patrol officers organize a rescue mission.

Early’s wife, Sam, desperately watches the scene from another home.

"Wife of victim saying her (husband) has not moved; blood flowing down driveway. She is crying, saying he’s dying in front of her," according to dispatch records.

Using a shield and patrol car, the officers rescue Early, but he already appears to be dead, one officer writes.

Police learn Hermes is a former Marine and Border Patrol agent — and a dangerous fugitive.

He continues to mention the hostage, who never existed, police later find.

Hermes talks to dispatchers about loosening the ties on the hostage because she is turning red, and then says he won’t take the sock out of her mouth because she is breathing OK.

Hermes also says he hopes news media are covering the standoff and that he is sorry about shooting the man.

He grows agitated about an hour into the standoff, saying police are outside of the garage and repeatedly tells them to back off.

He also requests the password to the Earlys’ computer.

At 2:02 p.m., he makes his last move by speeding out of the garage toward SWAT officers, who are backed up against a brick wall.

After officers fire the deadly shots, they find a gun on the Nissan Altima’s floorboards, next to his hand.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Hermes’ mother, Barbara, is being treated for injuries received earlier that day when she says her son attacked her with a rock. She tells an officer that her son hasn’t been the same person since he began using methamphetamines.

"Did they kill my son?" she asks an officer. "As the ambulance pulled away, I heard the barrage of gunfire," she tells him while crying.

"I hoped they shot him dead."

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