MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A six-hour hostage situation at a mobile home park in Manatee County ends with the gunman dead and the hostage safe. Deputies say it was all over an eviction and some other issues in Glenn Watenpool's life.
Sheriff Rick Wells told reporters, “He made the point a couple of times this was his day to be heard and this is how he was going to do it.”
Wells says Watenpool, 68, arrived around 8 a.m. at the Pescara Mobile home park community center to talk with the park manager Mike Albaugh, 54.
Wells says Watenpool, “Pulled out the gun from his waistband pointed at the manager.”
But when the conversation didn’t go his way Wells says, “He hit the manager over the head with the gun.”
The SWAT team arrived and evacuated neighbors to an MCAT bus.
“We went to take the dog out they said get out, get out. …They had a guy with a shield we walked behind him,” says Linda Pray, she lives at Pescara Mobile Home Park.
The sheriff says the 68-year-old told negotiators no one would listen.
“He says for 6 years he tried to tell people his issues he had ... not sure what issues,” says Wells.
Despite negotiations, Wells says the man refused to release the park manager and around 2 p.m. SWAT moved in. “When the swat team entered the building he fired at them. They had to fire back for their safety,” says Wells.
“It’s sad. Hate to hear anyone dying,” adds Pray.
But to die over an eviction, she says, “I know that’s the crazy part.”
The sheriff says Watenpool was armed with a handgun and shotgun.
As for the hostage, Albaugh, deputies say the park manager was transported to the hospital for the injury to his head but will be fine.
Two schools had been on lockdown as a result of the standoff: Harllee Middle and Daughtry Elementary.
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