ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Florida. – Altamonte Springs police released multiple videos and 911 calls in connection with a standoff at a pizzeria in which a man was arrested after holding a manager hostage for seven hours from Monday evening to Tuesday morning .
A 911 caller alerted police to the situation involving Neal Pittard, 49, who entered the Hungry Howie’s, located at 491 N. State Road 434, and waved “a small black object, which appeared to be a firearm fire” while threatening store manager Ryan Long.
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“I spoke to someone earlier, but I’m trying to help you locate (Pittard), who was suicidal and claims he’s going to commit some kind of crime tonight,” the caller told the 911 operator. “He just called us from…Hungry Howie’s…Either he’s hiding by the bank or he’s waiting for pizza.”
[WARNING: 911 call below contains graphic language]
A SWAT team from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office was deployed, along with negotiators and other agencies, to get Pittard to stand down.
He can be heard phoning a 911 operator saying, “Have you ever answered the (expletive) phone? I called you. I’m here at Hungry Howie with a hostage.
When the operator says she understands he is upset, he shoots her.
“You don’t understand (expletive). You don’t care about my situation,” Pittard said.
According to an arrest report, Pittard held the alleged gun to the hostage’s head several times throughout the negotiations as he made demands of law enforcement.
The video shows an officer asking a witness who was near the scene if the suspect had a gun, to which she replies that she saw a gun with an “orange tip on it”.
“He’s pointing an airsoft gun,” he told a fellow police officer on the other end of the radio. Investigators later found a “small blue water gun wrapped in black electrical tape” at the scene of the clash, according to an arrest report.
Another video shows an Altamonte Springs officer evacuating employees of a nearby business as the hostage situation unfolded.
You can hear another law enforcement officer tell him over the radio that the suspect let a Hungry Howie employee go and locked the front door of the store.
Footage shows the employee slowly exiting and turning back to the officer, who says, “You are fine. Go ahead, go ahead.
At around 1 a.m. Tuesday, police activated their sirens, accompanied by multiple bangs and smoke, and a swarm of SWAT team officers escorted Pittard out of the building on a stretcher and loaded him into a ambulance, detectives said.
Police said they arrested Pittard and released Long on Tuesday, who was not injured.
“It was just a long night. It was a difficult situation, but we all got out safe and sound. Everyone is fine,” Long said in an interview on Tuesday. “It was sometimes a client that I had already seen, but no, I did not know him.”
Pittard faces multiple charges including false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery, Altamonte Springs police said. He was denied bail by a judge on Tuesday.
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