Father of suspect in hostage standoff had concerns of son's mental health

Police say Nicholas Humphrey held 13 hostage in credit union for 2 hours

By Scott Johnson - Reporter , Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The father of the man accused of holding 13 people hostage Thursday morning at the Community First Credit Union in Northwest Jacksonville said his son had developed mental health problems recently.

As recently as Wednesday evening, Andre Comb said he thought his son,  Nicholas Humphrey, needed to be committed.

During their conversation just hours before the hostage situation, Comb said Humphrey was mumbling and had visible mental problems. The father said he thought his 23-year-old son should have been committed for psychiatric evaluation, but he did not act.

“I thought maybe he needed to be Baker acted,” Comb said. “I thought it but, I mean, who do you call? He’s grown. You can’t put a grown man in an institution unless he’s doing bodily harm to himself and he wasn’t doing bodily harm.”

RELATED: Gunman held 13 hostage in credit union for 2 hours, police say

Comb told News4Jax that his son had a good upbringing and had only developed the issues in the last month. He also said he didn’t know his son had a gun.

“He’s not a violent kid. He never came across to violent,” Comb said.

The father said he was shocked to learned that his son was the suspect in the hostage standoff while watching the news.

“(It’s) just a tragedy, like, I said, I feel sorry for the victims and their family members that they had to go through such an ordeal.  It’s heart-wrenching because he’s my son. I raised him. He’s a good kid (from a) good family, good home. (He) never really had any major issues.  But I knew something mentally was going on,” Comb said.

Humphrey was booked into the Duval County Jail on 13 counts of kidnapping, one count of armed robbery and one count of auto theft.

Humphrey's only previous arrest in Jacksonville was in September on a traffic offense, although he was also arrested in the Tampa area in February 2016 for domestic violence.

Though Comb continues to worry about his son, he said he was thankful no one was hurt and expressed gratitude to police for how they handled the situation. 

"Thank God JSO did a great job because typically things like that don’t end in great situations. He could’ve been deceased," Comb said.

Humphrey will be in court Friday, and Comb said he plans on being there. He said he wants to talk to his son but just hasn’t had a chance with all the chaos.

Forensic psychologist: Still much to be determined on suspect's mental health

Humphrey walked into the credit union on Edgewood Avenue West just after 9 a.m. with a dog, dog food and a gun, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Mike Williams said that Humphrey put a gun to the heads of the hostages and threatened to kill them.

Stephen Bloomfield, a forensic psychologist at Bloomfield Psychological Service, said there is still much to be determined about what was going on mentally with the suspect.

“It sounds like there is some level of confusion, that there is some level of disorientation. Why go into a bank to ask those questions?” Bloomfield said. “What sticks out to me is the incongruity of the situation -- coming to a bank with a pit bull, firing a shot in the air and then saying he doesn't want any money, that he may have had other demands.”

Demands that one of the hostages told News4Jax included seeing his family.

“He wanted to speak to his family. He wanted his wife, his mother-in-law and his father, he wanted them to come to the bank and talk to them. He said he didn't want no money,” hostage Frank Brown said. 

That's something that may indicate Humphrey had deeper issues, according to Bloomfield.

“I'm not sure if there's a mental issue or not. Some of the things that could be at play are anxiety, panic. He could have panic. He could have went in for some reason and then got in over his head and started asking for parents,” Bloomfield said.

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