Barricade and bloody windows: How Md. tactical officers saved a boy taken hostage

WASHINGTON — A 3-year-old boy was in danger. His father was writing on the windows with blood and refused to come out of the house. Montgomery County police are breaking down the tactical response to that situation earlier this week which resulted in a police shooting.

After arriving at his ex-girlfriend’s Mozart Drive town house the evening of Monday, July 23, 30-year-old Jean Perez assaulted her and another man and then took his son hostage, according to Montgomery County police.

“Our officers on the perimeter [were] reporting he was barricading the town home and he had ignited something; lit something on fire and threw it outside. That began to tell us that we may have to make entry,” said Capt. Paul Starks.

He explained how the tactical team tried to negotiate with Perez, who has a history of domestic violence. The boy’s mother told officers Perez had assaulted them just three weeks earlier but she had not called police.

For more than an hour outside the Fairland-area home, police said officers used a megaphone to try to communicate with Perez in both English and Spanish. His behavior continued to escalate in severity and Starks said at one point Perez appeared to use blood to write on the windows.

“Then we hear the child screaming and crying and the smoke alarms are going off. The smoke is visible. We had no choice. We had to enter,” Starks said of the tactical team’s actions.

Officer Edward Cochran, an eight-year veteran of the Montgomery County police force, shot Perez in the master bedroom of the home. In the room, officers found a bloodied knife.

Perez is not expected to survive his injuries. The child was unharmed.

A search of the home revealed charred clothing in two areas of the second floor. A flammable liquid and three lighters were located in the master bedroom.

Cochran is on administrative leave while an internal investigation is underway.

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