Two Preschoolers Taken Hostage in Florida by Murder Suspect As Relatives Plead for Their
Dec. 10, 1997
Two Preschoolers Taken Hostage in Florida by Murder Suspect As Relatives Plead for Their ReleaseBy MIKE SCHNEIDER
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ A murder suspect who broke into a house while fleeing police held two children hostage for a second day Wednesday, threatening to kill them unless he was given a car.
Outside the barricades, the youngsters' relatives went before the TV cameras to plead with John Edward Armstrong to release the children, Teddy Vickson, 2, and his cousin Malcolm Phillips, 4.
``Malcolm and Teddy, I love you,'' said Karen Priest, their aunt. ``Please let the babies go. We miss them, we need them, we miss them.''
``Please let my baby go,'' said Teddy's mother, Iris Vickson.
Armstrong, 39, jumped through a window of the house on Tuesday after a car chase. He released two women inside but kept their children. Police cordoned off the area and tried to talk him into surrendering.
``He had to stop negotiating at one point to take one of the kids to the bathroom, so we know they're being taken care of,'' said Lt. Cheryl DeGroff-Berry. Armstrong, who has three children of his own, also fed the toddlers, police said.
Armstrong's 12-year-old son, John Jr., was allowed to talk to his father by telephone for five minutes and said afterward: ``He's going to let the kids out.''
Armstrong is suspected of shooting and killing Jerome Wilson, 46, and wounding Wilma Haynie in nearby Winter Park on Tuesday.
Police said Armstrong had gone to Wilson's house searching for a girlfriend. She wasn't there.
Armstrong got out of prison in March after a 12-year sentence for robbery was reduced to 1 1/2 years to ease prison crowding.