“You let Henley go free. You left her in a safe spot and let us know where to find her. That tells me that you didn’t want to hurt a child. So far all that’s happened is that you’re holding Jake. That’s not a huge offense. He’s not that much older than Henley, so I can’t imagine that hurting him is something you want to do. That would only make this situation worse.”
Always make the consequences for the perpetrator sound minimal.
“Oh yeah? What about that woman I just shot?”
“She’s going to be fine,” Ava stated, hoping it was true. “You could have really hurt her, but you chose not to. And my understanding is that she was advancing on you, is that correct?”
“Yeah. She wouldn’t back off. I warned her!”
“I’m sure you did, Mr. Jopek. And that works in your favor. So right now, this situation is manageable. Let’s not give the police outside something to get angry about.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” he snapped.
“Then please tell me what you want,” Ava said. “Mason is here. Like I said, if you want to talk to him, I need a promise that you won’t start shooting. Do you wish to tell him something specific?”
Do not empower by giving concessions without getting something in return.
“Damn right, I want to talk to him. I’ve only said it ten times!”
“So if I bring him in for you to speak with, you’ll just talk to him? I can make him stay and listen to what you have to say. You don’t need to hold Jake to make Mason listen.”
“Get him in here!”
“I will. And I’ll keep that Portland SERT team at bay as long as you agree not to shoot at him or Jake,” Ava stated, pushing for an agreement from the man.
Emphasize that harming someone will make the situation worse.
Kent was quiet, but Ava could tell he was thinking hard. He wanted Mason in front of him, but he was realizing that wouldn’t happen unless he made some concessions.
“Mr. Jopek, can you stop pointing the gun at the two of us? That simply puts the SERT team on edge,” Ava requested.
“Good one,” Corello mumbled as Kent moved the gun.
“Thank you,” she said into the speaker. “Trust me when I say that reduced everyone’s stress level outside. Let’s keep them relaxed, okay?” Most of the front of the store was glass. Ava didn’t know how good the SERT team’s view was, but she was pretty sure at least one sniper had Kent Jopek in his sights.
Kent looked away, and Ava lowered the handset. “We’ll let him stew on that for a while,” she said to Corello. “He needs to know that his actions affect how he’s viewed outside. And I want him to start seeing that there can be a different outcome from whatever he’s got planned in his head.” She firmly believed in a show of force. It was something to remind the hostage taker that dire consequences could happen if he reacted poorly. There was a time for forceful tactical maneuvers, but they hadn’t reached that yet. The SERT team could wait. It was still time to talk, feel him out.
“You’re good,” Corello stated. “Your voice makes me want to crawl into bed and take a nap.”
Ava snorted. “Thanks. I’m glad he’s accepted me.”
“This is the most relaxed I’ve seen him,” Corello said. “His jitters have settled down. You’ve got him thinking.”
“Do you think he’s suicidal?” she whispered.
“I don’t know,” said Corello. “That’s been going through my mind over and over. He’s not acting like everything is hopeless. He seems very determined. The suicides I’ve worked with have always acted like it’s the end of the world and they simply don’t know how to go on. I don’t see that here.”
In her eyes, Kent Jopek still looked like a man ready to kill. But would he do it? She hadn’t brought up the murder of Mason’s informant, Josie. And she wouldn’t address it unless Kent mentioned it first. As far as Kent knew, she wasn’t aware of it. She brushed at the sweat on her temples. “He still needs to vent about his son’s death. And he needs to tell it to Callahan. My concern is what he has planned after he vents. Is his goal to shoot Jake to make Callahan suffer as he did? And then what? Suicide by cop?”
“Tell the SWAT team to stay away!” Kent yelled.
“They will stay out of the store as long as you aren’t hurting anyone. You have my word on that. The FBI isn’t interested in initiating a shooting,” Ava said.
“They’re going to want to end this as soon as possible!” Kent shouted back.
Never set a deadline. Time allows anger to dissipate.
“No, they’re not,” Ava said calmly. “This is where the FBI has the authority, and I’m not going to rush you. The Portland Police guys are going to stay back until I say so.”
“Sorry,” she mumbled to Corello, acknowledging the inflated agency position she’d played up for Kent.
“I don’t give a shit,” said Corello. “Say whatever you need to say to end this peacefully.”
“Okay,” yelled Kent. “I won’t shoot anyone. Send in Callahan.”
Ava studied the man. “Thank you, Kent. I’m going to take your word on that and have Corello tell them to send him in.” She nodded at Corello, who put his cell phone to his ear. “Since you’re not going to shoot anyone, are you willing to put the gun down?”