Suspect in 30 hour standoff with child hostage indicted on 7 counts

Suspect in 30 hour standoff with child hostage indicted on 7 counts
A photo showing Sincere just moments after being rescued. He enjoyed a donut in the safety of police custody. (Provided by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones)
A photo showing Sincere just moments after being rescued. He enjoyed a donut in the safety of police custody. (Provided by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones)
The standoff unfolded over the weekend of Jan. 12-14 at Springs at Liberty Township apartment complex off Hamilton-Mason Road near Ohio 129. (FOX19 NOW/Alison Montoya)
The standoff unfolded over the weekend of Jan. 12-14 at Springs at Liberty Township apartment complex off Hamilton-Mason Road near Ohio 129. (FOX19 NOW/Alison Montoya)

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The man accused of holding small boy hostage and using him as a human shield in a standoff that spanned more than 30 hours as he fired two dozen shots at law enforcement, taunting them, was indicted on seven counts Wednesday.

Donald Tobias Gazaway, 31 faces decades in prison if convicted on all charges: kidnapping, felonious assault, inducing panic, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and two counts of having weapons while under disability.

He is held at the Butler County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond and returns to court Feb. 27, court records show.

Gazaway was found with three guns including an AK-47 and pistol when the SWAT standoff ended at an apartment complex off Hamilton-Mason Road about 6:30 a.m. Jan. 14, according to the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Richard Jones said Gazaway fired about 25 shots at deputies and the SWAT team while using 10-year-old Sincere Trammell, a fourth grader, as a human shield. SWAT equipment was hit: an armored vehicle with officers inside and a robot.

No one was hurt.

Officers said they did not return fire for fear of inflaming the situation and Gazaway further, risking the boy's safety even more.

Butler County Sheriff's Detective Joe Nerlinger testified at a hearing last month that Gazaway told authorities after he finally surrendered because he was tired of dealing with law enforcement.

"He said he was done and we were driving him crazy," Nerlinger said in court Jan. 17.

Gazaway has been on parole following his release from a state prison in July, state records show. His arrest in connection with the standoff is a violation of that parole. Given the seriousness of the charges, Gazaway is all but guaranteed to go back to prison if convicted of the parole violation.

He served more than four years for a felonious assault conviction with a gun specification in Hamilton County.

Back in 2013, Gazaway was accused of attempting to harm five people by firing several shots during an argument at a party of 30 or more people at U.S. 50 and Cooper Avenue in Cleves, an affidavit states.

He was armed again when he arrived at the boy's mother's apartment late the night of Jan. 12, the sheriff has said.

But Gazaway didn't show his weapon right away, not until an argument erupted, according to the sheriff.

He asked the boy's mother for $10,000 that he believed she had in the apartment, and she refused, Jones said, so out came the gun.

The boy's mother and her friend, Rodderick Dontane Trammel, ran out, leaving the boy alone in the apartment with the gunman, according to the sheriff.

Trammel was arrested shortly after the standoff began. He was charged with misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct.

Meanwhile, negotiators tried to communicate with the gunman through a megaphone as they began the process of trying to coax him out. They threw cell phones to him, which he mostly ignored, according to the sheriff.

They delivered McDonald's meals to him and the boy and gave them water to drink.

They also listened as the the child cried and begged to be released, asked his captor why he was doing this to him, according to the sheriff.

The gunman refused to let him go, not even to allow the child to use the bathroom, officials said.

Night fell. Bitter cold set in, temperatures plunging into the single digits.

As the standoff stretched into the evening of Jan. 13, police SWAT teams from West Chester and Hamilton arrived so exhausted sheriff's SWAT members could go home and sleep.

That turned turned the response into one of the largest joint operations anyone can recall.

In all, more than 100 responders arrived at the apartment complex over three days.

The standoff is believed to be the longest in the region, second to a 2013 Latonia SWAT situation that ran 19 hours.

The sheriff has said Gazaway never should have been in the boy's apartment or around the child to begin with.

As a condition of his parole, Gazaway is prohibited from having guns but was found with three and smoked marijuana in front of the boy during the standoff, Jones said.

He referred the case to Butler County Children Services and widely criticizing the boy's mother.

""I don't know many mothers if any at all that would leave their 10-year-old son or daughter in the house with some guy that's holding their son or daughter with a gun," he has said.

The status of the Children Services case was not immediately clear. They have not responded to a previous request for comment and did not return a call Wednesday.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser also has not responded to a request for comment.

In an interview last month, the boy said he was only "a little bit scared" during his ordeal as a kidnapping victim.

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