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Fla. Murder Suspect Holds 5 Hostages

July 23, 2000

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Sheriff’s deputies seeking to arrest a suspect in the killing of a convenience store clerk ended up in a standoff after the armed man took five people hostage in a home, authorities said.

Jamie Dean Petron, 41, shot an Orange County sheriff’s deputy in the leg in a grocery store parking lot before fleeing to the nearby home Saturday, authorities said. He remained inside with a woman and four children early Sunday.

The hostages were a woman in her 40s, a 16-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, an 11-month-old boy and a girl either 9 or 10 months old, said Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Solomons. Petron apparently did not know the occupants.

Police spoke to Petron twice Sunday morning. Sgt. Angelo Nieves described Petron’s demeanor as ranging from ``edgy to calm″ and said his willingness to talk to negotiators was an encouraging sign.

The woman being held captive, the only other adult in the house, was taking care of the children and there was enough food for everyone, Nieves said. Still, police sent a remote-controlled robot to the door mid-morning with juice and doughnuts, though the food was not immediately retrieved.

``This could go on for days,″ Nieves said, but added that Petron could end the conflict quickly if he decides to come outside.

Petron shot at a 28-year-old man as he escaped the home Saturday, grazing the man’s head, authorities said. The man, identified by relatives as Norman West, was listed in good condition at a hospital.

West’s mother escaped uninjured from the home immediately after Petron entered, authorities said.

West and his mother, Thelma Mills, were in the garage when Petron ran up to the house, according to Amanda Clarke, a relative.

``The garage was open, it was the safest place for him to run,″ Clarke said. ``She thought he was some ordinary citizen. She didn’t know it was the law chasing him. She thought it was someone trying to hurt him.″

Clarke said once Petron got inside the house, Mills saw he was holding a gun and realized she might be in danger. When Petron demanded she get him a phone, she ran out the garage door instead, Clarke said.

Clarke said the hostages are Mills’ sister, who was visiting from New York with her children, and Mills’ 16-year-old daughter and 11-month-old grandson.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department SWAT officials were surrounding the home in the middle-class Meadow Woods subdivision south of Orlando.

The sheriff’s office was receiving assistance from Petron’s son, a Broward County sheriff’s employee, who traveled to Orlando in an attempt to convince his father to end the hostage situation, which began shortly after noon.

Petron is a suspect in the Friday slaying of Jorge Trillos, 22, during a convenience store robbery in Pompano Beach. Trillos’ boss, Samir Hantash, 48, was seriously wounded.

Deputies located Petron at 12:15 p.m. at a grocery store. As Petron left the parking lot, he rammed a sheriff’s vehicle and shot 26-year-old Deputy Scott Winters in the leg, authorities said. Winters was in stable condition.

Records show that Petron was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1986 for attempted first-degree murder, forgery and battery on a law enforcement officer. He was released from prison on Dec. 10, 1995.

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