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County Jailer Releases Three Hostages, Surrenders

November 18, 1986

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. (AP) _ A county jailer who took three people hostage at a downtown shopping mall ended the standoff by freeing two of them and then embracing the third hostage, his estranged wife, before surrendering, the sheriff said.

For 9 1/2 hours Monday, Jim Worrell, about 40, held at gunpoint his wife, Gail; John Bishop, whom he believed to be romantically involved with her; and one of his wife’s co-workers, said Chelan County Sheriff Joe Collins.

Charges were expected to be filed today against Worrell, who was taken to Grant County Jail in Ephrata, Collins said.

Bishop was kicked and a gunshot passed near his head, Collins said. Bishop was cut near the eye, Collins added, but no other injuries were reported.

The incident began about 11:20 a.m. Monday, when Worrell brandishing two pistols, seized Bishop, a construction subcontractor, at a construction site in downtown Leavenworth.

Worrell marched his hostage in handcuffs to his wife’s sewing shop, where he took Mrs. Worrell and a shop employee identified as Vicky Whitmore prisoner, handcuffing them to a post.

Streets in the picturesque Cascade Mountain town of about 1,600, some 80 miles east of Seattle, were blocked off and mall shops were evacuated.

After releasing Ms. Whitmore about 5 p.m. and Bishop about 3 1/2 hours later, Worrell had ″a tearful and emotional reunion″ with his wife before agreeing to surrender around 9 p.m., Collins said.

Larry Hamilton, a jail supervisor, said Worrell, who had worked less than a year at the jail, had been ″an ideal employee″ and had shown no signs of distress.

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