BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. -- For 10 hours, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office crisis negotiators 1st Sergeant Joey Lopresti and Captain Brad Evans worked with a distressed man, hoping he did not hurt any children, or himself while surrendering at his home.
"We want to make sure there is a peaceful resolution," Lopresti said. "You have to mind what you're saying. You're thinking four moves ahead. You have to think about what you want to say and then you factor in what they are saying back to you, to make sure you don't say the wrong thing."
A dangerous combination fueled their recent 10-hour negotiation.
"Weapons, anger, alcohol," Evans said. "It changes things tremendously."
The man, who refused to come out of his home, took the crisis negotiators on a word journey.
"We went through every high and low. We went through the, 'why are you here? I done nothing wrong.' Then we had to fight the anger, and the hanging up, and losing connection. We knew there was alcohol involved, we had to let the alcohol run its course," Evans said.
"A thousand things run through your head constantly," Lopresti said.
One important choice they had to make was figuring out how to gain the man's trust.
While the entire process took 10 hours, most of it was spent in silence.
"It was probably two and a half to three hours of actual talking time, which is a lot," Lopresti said. "From a negotiating standpoint, you have a negotiator and you have a coach. We share some of the talking responsibilities, if I got to a point that the person I was talking to got frustrated with me or upset, we could easily switch off, he could save me, hey, it's Brad, now Joey's gone."
Ten hours after this case began, the children, the roommate, and the gunman all walked out of the home.
But the negotiators' job did not end there.
"We couldn't just hand him off, because, part of our negotiations was, you deal with us, we will see you to the finish line," Evans said. "So we physically handled him, we physically transported him. We brought him here to finish the intervention. We took him to the Magistrates Office. We processed him at the jail, because that was the promise we made to him when he opened the door."
Both men agreed they cannot violate the trust they build, not matter how long it takes.
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