Monday, September 25, 2006

What you didn't read about the police standoff, 9/21/06

By FRANK PHILLIPS
frankphi@hotmail.com

Friday was dark and rainy.
My wife, Linda, took me to work (it was too wet to ride the scooter -- Vinny (the Yamaha Vino 125) got to stay in the garage while I went out into the dark world.)
Around 10:30 a.m., I got a call from one of our television colleagues, telling me somethign was going on in Brazil. It sounded like a hostage situation, according to the scanner traffic, he said.
We couldn't hear what he was hearing, but I promised to stay in touch.
At 12:30 p.m., Linda and I were eating lunch at Mario Brothers, a favorite Mexican restaurant in downtown Brazil.
A professional friend called my cell phone.
"Frank, I just got the strangest call," she said.
It was from Jon Lambert, a deputy on the Clay County Sheriff's Department. He wanted to talk to her Saturday or Sunday, but not Friday.
As we talked, we began to put 2 and 2 together. It looked like Lambert might me the officer involved in the situation my frend had alerted me about.
I told Linda what I knew and asked her to not repeat any of it, because it was really circumstantial and we had no facts to go on.
I took her back to work and went home for a while.
I phone my tipster friend and gave him the name we believed was connected to the situation.
I learned U.S. 40 was blocked off near C.R. 675 W.
Back at work, we were able to verify two-way radio traffic heard by a colleague that indicated school children weren't allowed to go home.
I called the sheriff and verified there was a situation involving a deputy, but that was all he could say.
It is interesting that at no time Friday until the situation ended peacefully after midnight did the authorities release Lambert's name. Yet some media ran with it any way.
Our company has been sued for getting a name wrong in the public record. It wasn't our paper, but I remembered that. I guess some media just don't care about libel issues.
I sent one of our reporters to take pictures, if he could get close enough. He came back and was unable to get anything.
I began updating our Web site, http://www.thebraziltimes.com, as soon as the sheriff verified a situation existed.
The reporter who spoke with Lambert on the phone called me back after 2 p.m. and immediately went to the scene when she found out what was going on.
As she called in reports, I updated our Web site and stayed in touch with The Associated Press in Indianapolis.
ON Monday I found out through our reporter that the TV stations and newspapers covering the standoff (not a hostage situation) were watching our Web site for updates. Really cool! We were feeding information to the other media.
We found this out through a person who was sending reports to the Fox news network. He promised to give us credit for anythign we shared with them. I doubt the other media (except The Associated Press) did so.
We had to put the Saturday paper to bed at 11:35 p.m. Friday. Within an hour, Lambert gave himself up and was taken into custody.
This is going to be an ongoing story and I hope you follow it at our Web site, http://www.thebraziltimes.com.