UPDATE: SWAT team called to downtown parking deck

Posted at 9:24 AM, Jun 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-11 16:13:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A man has been taken into custody after a SWAT team and negotiators were called to a parking deck in downtown Richmond Monday morning.

Richmond police have charged Jessie Whitaker, age 28, with tampering with a vehicle, obstruction of justice without force and an outstanding warrant.

"It's scary because on any given day I could be walking in the parking deck and you just never know what can happen from one day to the next," said Melissa Hobson.

Hobson works in downtown Richmond and was trying to make her way into the Crowne Plaza parking garage when she witnessed the so-called scary scene unfold.

"They told me that I couldn't park and I later learned there was a standoff inside the parking deck," said Hobson.

Dionne Waugh, with the Richmond Police Department, said that at 5:20 a.m. officers responded to a call about suspicious persons breaking into vehicles inside the parking garage at the Crown Plaza Hotel at 5th and Canal streets.

Police have released an updated statement that says the man and woman were found inside a vehicle and that the man acted as though he had a weapon in a bag and as if he were taking the woman hostage. 

Earlier, James Mercante had said that police had approached the man who had put his hand inside a bag and went behind an air unit in the parking garage. They said earlier today that he grabbed a woman.

"The young man then behaved as if she was a shield," said Mercante, earlier.

Police said that "out of an abundance of caution, officers requested SWAT and negotiator assistance." The man surrendered to a uniformed officer at 7:24 a.m.

Several surrounding streets were temporarily closed as police tried to get the man to surrender. 

Police said that though they initially believed the female was the victim of abduction, the investigation revealed the two are acquaintances. The extent of her role in the incident as a whole remains ongoing.

"Detectives don't really know what the dynamics were between the pair," said Mercante.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for continuing coverage of this story.