Hostage situation ends in arrest in Waynesboro

The Waynesboro Police Department was called to the 1200 block of South Jackson Avenue at approximately 2:30 a.m. this morning for a domestic incident that had evolved into an armed hostage situation.

The 34-year-old victim told Waynesboro 911 operators that she was being held against her will by her husband, Alex Benjamin Potter, 35, who was armed with multiple firearms and had tried to shoot her. Dispatchers kept the victim on the phone and did an excellent job of keeping her calm and relaying real time information to officers, who had arrived on the scene and were talking on the phone with her husband.

After initial attempts by officers to obtain the release of the victim were not successful, the department’s Crises Negotiations and SWAT Teams were called to the scene. Also responding were members of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office including that agency’s special teams, as well as Staunton PD’s Robot Unit.

Negotiators continued to talk with the subject for more than 3 hours and ultimately were successful in securing the release of the female victim at approximately 6:30 a.m. They then focused their efforts on getting Mr. Potter to surrender which continued for another two-plus hours. Finally, armed with a search warrant and arrest warrants for Potter, SWAT officers deployed an irritant gas into the home while negotiators continued to persuade him to exit the residence.

This proved successful and Mr. Potter came outside unarmed, surrendering without further incident.

Potter, who is a resident of the city, has been charged with abduction and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being held at Middle River Regional Jail without bond and additional charges could be forthcoming as the investigation continues.

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