Man who held baby hostage overnight surrenders to SWAT

Residents of Westside complex can access their apartments again

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused of taking his 8-month-old daughter and the child’s mother hostage and keeping police at bay overnight was arrested, charged with aggravated assault, battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to family, the mother managed to get away safely at some point Sunday evening after Smalls took a shot at her. A SWAT team negotiator got 38-year-old Ricardo Smalls to surrender just after 9 a.m. Monday.

The hostage standoff kept residents out of the Courtney Manor apartment complex of Collins Road from about 10 p.m. Sunday until Monday morning, shortly after Smalls came out of the apartment with the child.

“She’s so precious. She’s a happy baby, you know, and it’s sad she’s going through this,” said the child’s aunt, Lourdes Rodriguez, said earlier “No child should go through this. She’s small, but she can still feel the tension and who knows what’s going on right now. I just want her out of there.”

From court records, Smalls and the woman had the child together. Earlier this year she filed a domestic violence injunction and she was seeking full custody of their child.

Mike Dugan, who lives in the building next door to where this situation is unfolding, shared a video in which hostage negotiators can be heard urging the man to come out with the baby.

“The police have broken some windows and they have tried some high pitch noise frequency to try to get him out. He has not responded to this negotiation, not once,” Dugan said. “The female negotiator in the video has been going since last night talking to this guy, but he will not respond to her.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office set up a mobile command center less than a quarter of a mile down the road from the complex. Cars could be seen lined up along Collins Road as the police would not allow residents back into the apartments.

“My wife and my kids are all sleeping in our truck and she works online and I work in Green Cove,” said one Courtney Manor resident who didn’t want his name used. “My kids are restless, so we’re just trying to make the best and figure out when we can get back to normal.”

The man who provided the video said the police would not let him out of this apartment so he is unable to go to work until the indicent was over. Other residents kept out of the complex overnight slept in their cars.

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