A SWAT team in helmets and flak jackets arrested the man inside the upscale Olde Pink House restaurant. Investigators were still trying to sort out what led to the standoff, but initial details pointed to a botched kidnapping.
The chaos began just after 8 a.m. when a plainclothes officer outside a coffee shop saw the silver Jaguar jump the curb and the driver bounded out shouting, “Help me! I’m being kidnapped,” said Savannah-Chatham County Police spokeswoman Gena Sullivan.
A man in the passenger seat pointed a gun at the officer, who then fired a shot at the suspect and missed. The gunman, identified by police as 26-year-old Kevin Dale Brooks, bolted and ran about three blocks to the restaurant.
The 60-year-old driver told police he was being forced to take the gunman to an ATM and withdraw money while another suspect held his son hostage. Police found the 11-year-old boy unharmed at their home and later arrested a second man who fled from the home about 3 miles from the restaurant standoff.
“There are still a lot of questions,” Sullivan said. “Detectives are still trying to piece things together.”
The confrontation caused police to shut down busy streets and manicured squares within three blocks of the Olde Pink House restaurant in a converted 18th-century mansion known for its pink stucco facade. Tourists staying directly across the street at the Planters Inn had to stay locked inside until the standoff was over.
“We were eating breakfast and about to leave when they told us we couldn’t go out,” said Barbara Garrow of San Antonio who left the inn with a friend two hours late for a trolley tour. “We sat by a window for about half an hour and they told us we had to go upstairs to our room.”
Stephen Hines, a local technology consultant, had just parked on the third floor of a city garage overlooking the Olde Pink House on Reynolds Square. He found himself looking down on SWAT officers surrounding the entrance to an alleyway leading to the restaurant’s back door. He watched as police sent in a robot with camera, then swarmed in with bulletproof shields as one officer called out, “Suspect! Suspect!” They emerged with a man with dreadlocks and a white shirt.
“They put him their car and he was complaining about being hurt,” Hines said. “They pulled him out, took off his shirt and said, ‘Thos’ are just scratches.’”
Brooks was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault on a police officer, armed robbery and drug possession. The second suspect, 23-year-old Brian Jones, was charged with false imprisonment, armed robbery, burglary and a traffic offense. It was not known Thursday if either man had an attorney. The public defender’s office did not immediately return a phone message.