Amid deadly SWAT standoff, hotel worker says she had to keep cleaning rooms

Her boyfriend says he still has nightmares about cleaning the blood off the carpet.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:43 PM EDT
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WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Employees at the Mason hotel where a jail escapee was shot by SWAT members last week describe the incident’s brutal aftermath.

One housekeeper says she was made to continue her work cleaning rooms while the SWAT situation remained active. Her boyfriend, a maintenance man, says he has trauma from vacuuming up the blood stains afterward.

The situation unfolded last Monday night and early Tuesday morning, days after 27-year-old Thomas Cromwell escaped from the River City Correctional Center in Camp Washington.

Cromwell barricaded himself and a female hostage for several hours in a room at the Baymont Hotel, authorities have said. Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell noted Cromwell met the woman in the parking lot minutes before going up to her room.

Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies responded with Mason police and, eventually, Warren County SWAT. Officers broke into the hotel room around 2:30 a.m. to find Cromwell allegedly holding the woman at knifepoint. Cromwell died instantly after a single gunshot to his head.

In the aftermath, maintenance worker Bret Swisher says he found the room with flipped furniture, holes busted in the walls, broken bathroom tiles and lots of blood.

“The owner asked me to go up and suck the water out of the floor and suck the blood mess up, and I did, until the shampooer got full, and I started freaking out,” Swisher recalled.

Swisher says he wasn’t given proper sanitizing equipment or personal protective equipment. He says he has PTSD after being asked to clean up the blood.

“And no I’m having trouble with dreams,” he said. “There’s blood on me with no gloves or protection.”

General Manager Nima Simjh confirms Swisher was tasked with cleaning up the room. “My housekeeping, they pick up everything, but he did do the shampoo machine. That’s all he does,” Simjh said.

Swisher’s girlfriend, Kelly Tutt, says she encountered Cromwell beforehand. “I ran into the one that was shot in the elevator prior to any of us knowing what was going on,” she said.

Tutt says she was told to clean several rooms on the same floor while SWAT was just five or six rooms down.

“We finished up a couple of rooms on the second floor, and then we went up to the third floor, and SWAT did a couple of walkarounds,” she said.

Simjh says he and the hotel staff were only following what the SWAT team told them to do.

“When they started searching the room, that’s when they tell us,” Tutt said. “We were working, and they tell us to stop working, and we stopped.”

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