Police say Albany hostage-taker hit with five bullets

A Bronx man who held a woman hostage in an Albany apartment Thursday was shot five times by a member
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Categories: Schenectady County

A Bronx man who held a woman hostage in an Albany apartment Thursday was shot five times by a member of an elite state police emergency response team. The team broke into a barricaded bedroom to save the woman after they heard gunfire and thought the man was executing her, according to the state police.

Isaac Peterson, 38, survived the fusillade from the AR-15, a patrol rifle that can fire 30 .223-caliber bullets in full-automatic mode within 1.5 seconds, said Capt. Steven James of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is handling the case.

Peterson remains hospitalized at Albany Medical Center in stable condition and is expected to survive. Police will charge him with felony burglary, criminal possession of a weapon, kidnapping and robbery when he is released, James said during a news conference at state police headquarters Friday afternoon.

The officer fired at Peterson when he refused to drop a .38-caliber revolver he had fired moments earlier and was aiming at members of the Special Operation Response Team. The team had entered the bedroom on the second floor of an apartment at 57 Westerlo St., James said. James refused to identify the officer, other than to say he is a 12-year veteran of the department.

A preliminary report by the state police’s Internal Affairs Unit concluded the officer did not violate department regulations when he fired his weapon at Peterson, James said.

Peterson may also have shot himself, James said, explaining the noise of gunfire state police heard prior to their forced entry. James said state police will know more once they have examined bullets removed from Peterson’s body. He said Peterson told the hostage, Casandra Hernandez, he was distraught and wanted to hurt himself.

Peterson is a career criminal with numerous drug-related felonies stretching back 22 years in the New York City area, James said. He said Peterson apparently came to Albany with the intent to rob what he thought was a drug house at 57 Westerlo St. Police were able to trace his arrival in the area to at least Wednesday.

James provided the following description of events:

Peterson, who was apparently impaired by drugs or alcohol, forced his way into the apartment by displaying a handgun sometime before midnight Wednesday. Once inside, he discovered he had been misled about finding a large quantity of drugs and money there and became agitated.

One of the apartment’s occupants, an unidentified man, left after Peterson arrived and apparently alerted Albany police to Peterson’s presence. When Albany police’s Mobile Response Team arrived, Peterson tried to escape but found himself trapped. At this point, he took Hernandez and two children hostage. He eventually released the children.

At around 11:45 a.m. Thursday, state police took over and continued negotiating with Peterson. Police flew up his ex-wife, who was in jail at Riker’s Island, to talk to him but would not allow Peterson to talk to her until he released the hostages. He never did speak with her.

At approximately 2:20 p.m. Thursday, the SORT members, who were in the hallway outside the apartment, heard gunfire and the woman screaming from the bedroom. Thinking Peterson was executing her, they entered the apartment and tried to break down the door to the bedroom, finding it barricaded.

SORT members continued bashing the door and finally got inside the bedroom. They found Hernandez unharmed but saw that Peterson was holding a revolver and pointing it at them. The lead officer told Peterson to drop the gun. Peterson refused. The officer then fired five times, hitting Peterson in the chest. Peterson went down and the hostage situation ended after about 15 hours.

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