Hostages freed, man in custody

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- What started as a domestic incident between a man and a woman multiplied as the man took the woman and her two children hostage before noon Saturday.

After nearly three hours of negotiations, 30-year-old Shermaine Winns surrendered to officers without incident at 3109 B Crepe Myrtle Court. Kim James, 25, and her children left the home safely.

No gun was reported found and charges in this confrontation are pending, said Phyllis Banks, police spokeswoman. However, Winns was charged on outstanding warrants for criminal trespass and battery.

"I do not believe the previous case involves this victim," Banks said. "It is not related."

According to Albany Police Department reports, Winns took the victims hostage after officers knocked on the door to follow up on a complaint.

The initial call came into 911 as a domestic fight. Apparently, when officers arrived Kim James, 25, sent a text message to her sister saying Winns would not let her or her children out the door.

Officers realized that for the safety of all involved the domestic had to be treated as a hostage situation, perhaps rising to the level of calling in SWAT.

"SWAT fortunately did not have to be called out to the scene," said Phyllis Banks, police spokeswoman. "We had a couple of negotiators here as well as family members that kept in constant contact with the victim and the suspect by phone."

One of those family members on the phone was Winns mother, Janice Poster, who tried to coax him from the residence over her cell phone.

"Come outside and follow the officer. I know you didn't do anything. They just want you to come out. Because they think you are holding her against her will. They aren't going to hurt you."

After Winns was taken away by officers, Poster said her son was visiting from Arlington. She also said her son and James had a long history of domestic arguments.

"It is just as much her fault as it is his," Poster said. "If they are going to arrest him they should arrest her too."