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Police: Sarasota man arrested for holding a mother, 2 children hostage

Officers say it took nearly 90 minutes to get the man to stand down and come outside the home peacefully.
Credit: Sarasota Police Department

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota man was arrested after police say he took a mother and her two children hostage and was in a standoff with officers Wednesday. 

Sheldon Howard, 31, is facing charges of aggravated assault with a weapon with intent to kill, false imprisonment/kidnapping and domestic battery, according to an affidavit. 

According to police, around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to the 1700 block of 35th Street in Sarasota after getting a call about a family disturbance with possible hostages. When officers arrived, DCF Child Protection Investigators told officers Howard was holding a woman and two children, ages 3 and 10 days old, hostage at knifepoint. The woman was identified as the children's mother. 

Officers made contact with the mother and she was able to get out of the home safely, but the children remained in the home, officers say. Officers say the woman told them she and Howard had an argument the night before, and he entered the home Wednesday through an open window and threatened to kill her and her children. 

Police say Howard refused to leave the home despite requests from officers. After speaking to him on the phone, Howard reportedly walked out with the 10-day-old infant in his arms. A few moments later, he let both the infant and the 3-year-old leave the home but remained inside the home, refusing to come out, according to law enforcement.

The children were unharmed. Police say the mother had visible injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene. 

After nearly 90 minutes working to deescalate the situation, officers say Howard agreed to come out peacefully and was taken into custody without incident. 

Police are asking anyone who has any information on this case to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-263-6827 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online here.

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