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Video: Calif. SWAT team rescues hostages from sword-wielding man

The man was holding his wife and children hostage inside his home


By Rosalio Ahumada
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Police Department on Tuesday released video of a SWAT team officer shooting a man wielding a sword as he held his wife and children hostage inside his home.

The police shooting occurred Aug. 10 during a rescue at the Sacramento home in the 100 block of Dragonfly Circle, after several hours of officers trying to convince the armed man to come out and peacefully surrender.

A member of the Sacramento Police SWAT team shot and wounded Isaiah Gardner as he held the sword in a raised position next to his wife and children in a bedroom, according to the Police Department. Gardner was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Police said Gardner on Tuesday was in stable condition and continuing to receive medical treatment. He will be booked on suspicion of false imprisonment at the Sacramento County Jail once he is released from the hospital.

The Police Department released an edited video of the shooting with narration, along with two body-worn camera videos, a dispatch audio recording and an audio recording from the Crisis Negotiation Team.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Aug. 10, patrol officers were called to the Dragonfly Circle home, just north of San Juan Road in the Gateway West neighborhood that sits northwest of the Interstate 5 and Interstate 80 junction.

A male suspect, later identified as Gardner, was reportedly armed with a sword and had barricaded himself in the home with his wife and children. The wife said she was not allowed to leave with her children.

Patrol officers tried for several hours to make contact with someone inside the home. Officers from the department’s Crisis Negotiation and SWAT teams were called to the scene. Negotiators were on the phone with occupants in the home for over two hours “as they worked towards a peaceful resolution,” police said in a news release.

The SWAT officers formed a hostage rescue team that could quickly enter the home. Police said officers learned Gardner was holding his family hostage inside a bedroom.

The negotiations continued until about 7:30 a.m., when police heard sounds of distress from Gardner’s wife and threats from Gardner.

“I ain’t going down. I ain’t leaving this room and neither are you, girl,” Gardner is heard saying in audio recorded by crisis negotiators.

Gardner then refused to let negotiators speak to his wife after she’s heard telling him to stop. Then, he’s heard ranting about “cowardly angels” outside.

“And to pray for an innocent man and his family who are about to have Satan himself set loose on them,” Gardner is heard saying. “I’m gonna chop your head off b----. That’s what’s gonna happen. This woman has betrayed me all night long.”

A child could be heard crying in the background as Gardner shouts and demands that his wife get back into a closet. Gardner continued to yell as his wife screamed “Stop!”

SWAT team enters the home

The video shows SWAT officers lined up at the home’s front door. One officer tried to unlock the door with a key. When that didn’t work, an officer swung a battering ram to knock open the door.

The officers then headed upstairs and lined up at the bedroom’s doors, announcing themselves as police. Gardner can be heard saying “Don’t touch that door.”

An officer used the battering ram to knock open the bedroom doors. The video shows the bedroom doors open and Gardner standing and holding the sword. Three gunshots were fired, then Gardner fell to the ground. His wife could be heard saying “Please help.” She and her children were on a nearby bed.

The officers then moved into the bedroom, turned Gardner over on his stomach and handcuffed him. The video shows one officer call for medics and for officers to roll Garden over again.

Police said the officers then provided medical aid to Gardner, including applying a tourniquet to his leg and covering a wound with a gauze.

None of the hostages or officers were injured during the successful rescue.

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