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Mother apologizes on behalf of son accused of taking hostages

Humphrey-Harris: 'They have my complete sympathy and apologizes'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of a 23-year-old man charged in Thursday’s hostage situation at a local credit union told News4Jax she wants to apologize to the victims.

Nicholas Humphrey was arrested morning after holding 13 people at inside the Community First Credit Union on Edgewood Avenue. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Humphrey held a gun to the hostages’ heads and threaten to kill them.

Officers spent hours negotiating with Humphrey to get him to release hostages inside the bank before the SWAT team stormed the building, took him into custody and freed the hostages.

Betty Humphrey-Harris said she’s sorry this happened. She said she knew her son needed medical attention because in recent months he had started hearing voices and talking to himself, but she never through he would go this far.

“We made the appointment,” said Humphrey-Harris, of getting her son to see a doctor. “On the day we were supposed to go he said ’Nope, I don’t want to go.’ I said, ‘Nicholas it really is not a choice, you need to go.’”

Humphrey-Harris said a few weeks following that exchange, her son started acting out verbally, talking to himself and people who weren’t there.

She added her attempt to get her son help never worked out and that he moved to Jacksonville to be with his father in June of this year.

“He just had a habit of running from Jacksonville to Tampa because his father is there and Mr. Combs lives there. Basically throughout his childhood he has been back and forth. When he is having trouble in Jacksonville, he will come here. When he has trouble in Tampa, he go there,” Humphrey-Harris told News4Jax.

Humphrey-Harris also addressed her comments to the hostages.

“They have my complete sympathy and apologizes,” said said, “on behalf of my son, whom I would like for them to remember that mental illness is a disease.”

Humphrey remains in jail on 13 counts of kidnapping, one count of armed robbery and one count of auto theft.