A man who allegedly forced himself into his estranged wife's Pass Christian home Monday morning and held her hostage at gunpoint surrendered peacefully after nearly seven hours of negotiations, police said.
Deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office first responded to a home in the 28400 block of J.P. Ladner Road at around 8:30 a.m., after receiving multiple 9-1-1 calls that the homeowner's ex-husband had forced himself inside her home with a firearm.
“He kicked the door in and held her at gunpoint...,” Marissa Necaise Peoples, the victim's daughter, said in a Facebook post Monday evening. “He was in the woods for hours hiding before he decided to go in with the gun.”
Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said the man, later identified as Hiram Kevin Smith, 53, held his ex-wife captive with the gun for nearly an hour before deputies were able to talk him into safely releasing her to authorities. According to Peterson, Smith stayed inside the home, making numerous suicidal threats.
A staging site for all emergency personnel, including the Harrison County and Gulfport Police Department S.W.A.T teams, was set up in an empty lot next to the home and in an area just across the street. Authorities also blocked traffic on J.P. Ladner Road from both directions for several blocks. The tactical teams surrounded the home and set up a perimeter. Some nearby neighbors watched from their front yards as the situation unfolded.
Negotiators with both agencies continued working with Smith to establish a safe ending to the event. Just after 3 p.m. -- nearly seven hours later, officials said -- Smith exited the residence unarmed and was safely detained.
“It was a very scary, shocking situation not knowing if your mom would make it out alive or not,” Necaise said.
Peterson said Smith was evaluated at the scene by AMR and was then transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.
According to Peterson, the Harrison County Sheriff's Office has obtained felony warrants for Smith's arrest. Peterson said Smith will be taken into custody and formally charged after he is released from the hospital. An exact list of charges was not specified at press time Tuesday.