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Hostage Rescue: The John E. Armstrong Incident

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 66 Issue: 11 Dated: November 1999 Pages: 34-38
Joe Robinson
Charles E. Higginbotham
Date Published
4 pages
This article describes a hostage rescue incident.
John E. Armstrong, a violent felon with multiple convictions who had been released early from prison, allegedly committed a homicide and an attempted homicide in a home in Winter Park, near Orlando, Florida. He then broke into another home, released two women residents of the home, but retained two young children as hostages. For 68 hours, law enforcement officials negotiated and managed the situation, which ultimately resulted in the hostages' release and Armstrong's death. The resolution of this hostage situation was a result of vision-driven planning that emphasized ongoing relationships, a community that trusted its public officials and decisive, courageous leadership. The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) praised Orlando for the city's efficient manner of implementing existing crisis procedures and suggested additional training measures for support personnel. NOVA also recommended that other cities create and train a multidisciplinary debriefing team to offer ongoing services for victims of traumatic events.