Thursday, November 19, 2009

ANSWERS AND GUNMEN REMAIN MISSING IN BIZARRE FLORIDA FALSE HOSTAGE PARAMILITARY OPERATION

          

Injured "hostage" discovered during SWAT team raid. Sarasota Herald-Tribune Photo.

While the mainstream media is busy obsessing over whether Newsweek disrespected Sarah Palin by putting a posed photograph of her in spandex running shorts (by Runner's World) on their cover, the rest of America and the western world continues to slide into economic chaos and an emerging police state.

Here in Florida, troubling questions remain following an apparent false hostage fiasco which Police and Sherriff's officials are blaming on conflicting stories by witnesses and "confusion". The alleged gunmen remain at-large, and victims, witnesses and residents of the small Gulf coast town of Venice are beginning to demand answers and the story has developed legs and is being featured on national newscasts. One central, overaching questions is begging for an answer: How could such a dramatic show of paramilitary force by at least three different police agencies and SWAT units, replete with helicopters, floodlights and canine units and a small army of officers in full military gear and semiautomatic weaponry, result in such a Keystone Cops failure to simply apprehend the gunmen?

This is especially true given the fact that the Fox News affiliate in Tampa Bay is reporting that the 42,000 square foot building was surrounded by Police and SWAT unit officers. Clearly, this is what can and does happen when the government insists on using the equivilent of a meat cleaver to kill a small housefly. Never once during the two-plus hours that SWAT teams and helicopters surrounded the building did Police have verified, reliable information that the so-called hostage takers were still in the Venice TJ Maxx department store. By the time authorities penetrated and cleared the building of "terrified hostages", the perpetrators could have fled to Fort Meyers, or traveled halfway to Miami or Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, Police are not releasing discriptions of the suspects or videotapes except to say they believe the two gunmen were armed "white males" who had rushed the store just before closing. This despite the fact that witnesses stated that the gunmen were covered from head to toe in black clothing and wore a mask and hood (some accounts say Darth Vadar masks).

 Watch:  Fox News: Manhunt: TJ Maxx Standoff Gunmen still at large

 Watch:  Fox News video "Frightening Ordeal" with Jane Skinner and Herald-Tribune Reporter.

      

Paramilitary SWAT officers begin to storm the entrance to TJ Maxx.

Two days later, the unfortunate fiasco is now making national news, including MSNBC, and reports like these are quoting Police as saying now that there was "conflicting reports" over whether the gunmen were still inside or had fleed the scene before Police had arrived, according to Sherriff's Office spokesman Lt. Eric Hill. It is unclear why, amid conflicting reports, SWAT teams responded and surrounded the store, treating the situation as a highly dangerous hostage situation that was still in progress. MSNBC is calling it a "false hostage situation", and a team of paramilitary SWAT members are seen charging the front door in group stance on the video linked here at MSNBC. Later, a sole victim is seen being pulled from the store. Several witnesses also reporting a single gunshot being heard at this time.

Police are refusing to release any videotape of the alleged gunmen taken by the store cameras. Police are refusing to release any information to help indentify the suspects (who are armed and at large) at all. This normally only occurs when Police have reason to believe someone familiar with the inside workings of the store might be involved and do not want to alert potential suspects.  Otherwise, the refusal to release any discriptive infomation to the public they allegedly serve is highly problematic on several fronts.

By chance, the Police received a 911 call from 2 alleged female employees about 10 minutes after the gunmen rushed into the store yelling in muffled voices at around 9:30 pm on Tuesday evening. The two employees claimed to have escaped from the back door exit. Not one witness reported any other persons leaving the store from that entrance. Police reponded with a massive display of paramiltary SWAT and air team support, complete with armored vehicles with radars and massive loud speakers, and officers from at least 3 counties dressed in full military fatigues with semiautomatic rifles. Several hours later, with victims cleared from the store and exits sealed, SWAT teams raided the store. Amazingly, the gunmen were nowhere to be found. Below is a video from Fox News which summarizes this Keystone Cop Police State fiasco, and to the right is a compilation on a few on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkZkI5D_Gro

"A massive, testosterone driven, show of paramilitary force, replete with helicopters, canines and fatigue wearing, combat armed SWAT team members...basically helped so-called hostages too scared to move find the front door; and meanwhile, amid all the pomp and circumstance, the alleged gunmen were long gone. Later, when the small army of SWAT officers stormed the store, an older woman inside was injured, and around this same time at least one witness heard gunfire. Police claim the injured woman, who had to be dragged from the store on a...stretcher, was injured when she was pushed to the floor by one of the gunmen." As quoted and set forth below:

SWAT teams (note: from 3 counties) were called in and by 1:30 Wednesday morning, they had pulled all hostages out of the building safely. One woman had some minor injuries from being shoved to the ground. Authorities have not yet found the gunmen but they are believed to still be in the building."


TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS UNFORTUNATE EVENT

As some who read this Blog may already know, I moved to where I am in Florida to complete my education in law, and I previously lived on Florida's Gulf Coast. I have a reliable source on the ground in Venice (parents of a good friend) who live close to where this occured. They described something along the lines of a massive, testosterone driven show of paramilitary force, replete with helicopters, canines and fatigue wearing, combat armed SWAT team members. Once it became apparent to most everyone who had gathered in the TJ Maxx parking lot or accross the street that the hostages were out and safe, many (including this source) went home or went to sleep. Later, they described the entire ordeal as "Keystone Cops" and could not believe admidst such a show of police force, the alleged crooks either snuck away, or were long gone before the SWAT teams ever arrived. Remember, Venice is a small town near the beach and outside of Sarasota. The closest metro area is Tampa Bay, about 70 miles north.

The local ABC affiliate was reporting two days after the robbery-hostage fiasco that took place in the town of Venice (which is just outside of Sarasota on the Gulf of Mexico) that witnesses to the SWAT standoff gone bad were still in disbelief on how the two reported robbers got away:

"Stephanie Cook was outside of the store as the hostages trickled out of the store. "How could they not catch them? There's only two ways in and out of TJ Maxx," she asked.

That sentiment was echoed throughout Venice, but police were not answering any questions about how the men escaped from a building that was surrounded by law enforcement," reported Rebecca Mendina from the the Tampa Bay Action News affiliate. Here is a video from Youtube which briefly breaks down the situation. It is also captured below in the small Youtube box along with 3 other videos. It is highly recommended the reader watch each video to help fill in the cracks and summarize the facts in this story.

According to MSNBC, the SWAT team (which could have thwarted an attempted invasion by a small third world nation) surrounded the building and secured both exits and essentially used a bullhorn and cellphone to announce their presence and called the store manager at his home. From there, the basically helped so-called hostages too scared to move find the front door; and meanwhile, amidst all the pomp and circumstance of assembling several dozen armed paramilitary officers around the store, the alleged gunmen were long gone. Later, when the small army of SWAT members stormed the store fully shielded and with weapons bared, an older woman inside was injured. And, around this same time, at least one witness heard a single shot of gunfire. Police claimed the injured woman, who had to be dragged from the store by a SWAT member on a make-shift triage stretcher, was injured after she was pushed to the ground by one of the gunmen (and denied any shots were discharged).

Sarasota County Sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose stated, "From what I understand, they (the hostages) were hiding in separate locations throughout the building, just not knowing whether it was safe to come out," Rose said. Some of the hostages had their wrists tied together. Nowhere has it been stated that the alleged gunmen asked where the store safe was, nor did they assemble all the so-called hostages on the floor together near the back of the store (standard operating procedure in a planned retail store holdup).

The Tampa Bay ABC affiliate had this to say during the hostage standoff, obviously parroted from the Sarasota County press release:

"VENICE, FL -- Sarasota County Deputies say 6 people have been saved from a hostage situation at a TJ Maxx on U.S. 41. Deputies say two men with guns went into the store just before 9:00 Tuesday night. They reportedly took four employees and two customers hostage.


SWAT teams (note: from 3 counties) were called in and by 1:30 Wednesday morning, they had pulled all hostages out of the building safely. One woman had some minor injuries from being shoved to the ground. Authorities have not yet found the gunmen but they are believed to still be in the building."

Nelson Hertzog, who manages a Papa John's Pizza store in Jacksonville, Florida, and who hails from Venice, Florida, stated that he received a series of tweets and emails during the time the TJ Maxx incident was unfolding from relatives. At the time they thought, due to the size and scope of the response by authorities, that terrorists had taken people hostage inside the TJ Maxx that was mere blocks from their house. For the next few hours, Hertzog stated that he tried (unsuccesfully) to get real-time news updates via his iphone, and finally got to the bottom of what was going on once he got home and accessed the Internet of his home PC. For several hours many in the Venice area who could not gather with the crowds in the TJ Maxx store, thought (erroneously) that terrorists had hostages inside the TJ Maxx. Given the size of the response and air cover provided by helicopters, and all the commotion and floodlights that come with such an operation, such an assumption and fear is hardly unwarranted. This author initially learned of the Venice incident from Mr. Hertzog.

Police say they do believe robbery is the motive though they won't say how much money or what types of things the men took from the store. Since the faces of the men were covered, they're having trouble with a description. They are hoping surveillance footage from the store might help them with some of the details, according to the local Tampa Bay News affiliate.

A massive number of SWAT officers in combat faitigues (and many wearing backpacks and utility gear while fully armed), are seen entering the TJ Maxx in the local Fox affiliate from Tampa Bay video linked here. Also in the video is an armored Sherriff's vehicle with a large speaker and radar at it's top which, according to several residents in the parking lot, emitted deafening noises and a loud voice which instructed the gunmen to come out. When several hostages came through the door, a booming voice yelled to the victims to put their hands over their head, apparently from this enormous loud speaker as well. Many victims could not put their heads over their hands because their hands were still tied and appeared frightened and confused when exiting the store. "They were screaming and they was a nervous wreck and they were tied up," witness Chuck Kaylor said. "And the police told them to raise their hands,(note: a witness from several blocks away heard the "hands up" command being blasted) and they couldn't obviously."

Welcome to 21st Century law enforcement in the new modern world order, where the bankers and speculators who have helped bankrupt this nation get bailouts, and the people get a botched, knee-jerk police response in full paramilitary regalia and victims being yelled at to get their hands over their heads despite the fact their hands are tied, by some faceless moron in an armored vehicle. Thank God none of these people were shot. And yet the day after it was business as usual at TJ Maxx, with many of the victims who were too afraid to let their names or pictures be used by the media, were forced by economic strain to return right back to work while never knowing if the gunmen will ever be caught. And the gunmen, they got away. I guess we should be thankful they did not get a bailout as well.

Meanwhile, Southwest Florida's finest from several counties got a chance to show off their new federally funded paramilitary toys, run around with semiautomatic rifles and full combat fatigues, and storm a local retailer that they knew, or should have known, had no sign of the gunmen inside (only terrified victims). That's because long before they stormed the building authorities were notified via a second 911 call that a black SUV was seen fleeing the scene with its headlights off suspiciously. That call was ignored, and instead the equivilent to a meatcleaver was used to kill a housefly. And Police continue to hunt leads for the missing gunmen clad in black.


URL to this page: http://citizencoma.com/special-report-bizarre-fla-non-hostage-operation.php

The full blog URL and link to this article is here: http://corruptionamericanstyle.blogspot.com/2009/11/questions-and-gunmen-remain-at-large-in.html  .

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