Breaking News Blog

Deputies kill hostage taker after he opens fire

A man who took another man hostage at a Bradenton mobile home park was shot to death, after he opened fire on deputies with whom he was in a standoff for six hours Thursday, according to Manatee Sheriff Rick Wells.

The gunman, who was identified as Glenn Watenpool, 68, opened fire when members of the SWAT unit entered the clubhouse at the Pescara Lake mobile home park, where the suspect had been holding another man hostage.

Deputies returned fire, killing Watenpool.

The victim was not seriously injured, but Wells said Watenpool had pistol whipped him.

Watenpool was a resident in the mobile home park who was upset because he was about to be evicted and didn't like some of the rumors circulating about him.

"He was trying to talk to the office manager about that, " Wells said.

Watenpool, armed with a handgun and shotgun, expressed concerns that he'd had for six years, the sheriff said.

"No one would listen to him, so this was his day to be heard," Wells said.

Sheriff's office hostage negotiators had tried several times to get Watenpool to release the hostage.

Several loud bangs were heard shortly after 2 p.m. at the Pescara Lake mobile home park, 750 57th Ave. W., where authorities had been in a standoff with a suspect since about 7:45 a.m.

Law enforcement received a call around 7:45 a.m. about possible shots fired at Pescara Lake. A SWAT team responded and the sheriff's office set up a Mobile Command Center a mile away.

Residents of Pescara Lake in the immediate area of the clubhouse were asked to evacuate.

As a result, Harllee Middle School and Daughtry Elementary School were placed on lockdown for a short while. Eastbound and westbound lanes of 57th Avenue West were shut down as the situation evolved.

The situation was described as delicate as the suspect was said to be "upset over some things," said sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow.

An ambulance was on standby.

In addition to the SWAT team, other undercover detectives, including members of the Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit, and two Crime Scene Unit vans were standing by.

A MCAT bus has been parked just outside the perimeter for several hours, to shelter residents who were forced to abandon their homes.