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Recently, there were two separate and unrelated hostage situations in a small town in
East/Central Florida. Melbourne is a small quiet town where most people would tell
you there is no crime. Quite frankly, I get tired of hearing that crap in any city.

Just yet another note to show bad things can happen anywhere, any time. See two articles:


Restaurant workers held hostage get vacation after robbery attempt ends in death
Melbourne officer shoots, kills gunman at T.G.I. Friday's

By Jennifer Ellis and J.D. Gallop


Four employees of a local eatery held hostage Sunday by an armed gunman are on a week-long paid vacation this morning
and will be offered counseling before they return to work.

Melbourne Police Department evidence technician Scott Dwyer picks up a gun at the scene of an attempted robbery at T.G.I. Friday’s in Melbourne on Sunday. Image © 2003, Craig Bailey, FLORIDA TODAY

Police haven't released the identities of the four employees taken hostage shortly after closing the T.G.I.
Friday's at Evans Road in Melbourne on Sunday morning. None of the four was hurt during the ordeal,
but one of their captors was shot in the head and killed by police.

A second suspect, Rasean T. Smith, 26, of Palm Bay has a first appearance court hearing today.

The identity of the slain robbery suspect has not yet been released by police.

Police say the standoff began when two armed gunmen burst into the restaurant known for its casual
dining, about 35 minutes after closing time Sunday and demanded cash.

Police spokesman Sgt. Lou Markline said a security alarm went off at the store around 2:35 a.m., alerting
police. They arrived in time to find Smith attempting to flee from the back of the business, he said.
A second man inside the store was seen through the restaurant's glass windows grabbing a female employee.

"He intended to use her as a shield," Commander Steve Mimbs said. "I suspect it would have been an
extremely dangerous situation with that victim had he pulled her inside."

Instead, police say the suspect let the hostage go before he fired several rounds at the police as he tried to
escape out the back. One officer, armed with a .223 patrol rifle, crouched near a green Honda about 100
 yards away, returned fire with two shots, officials said.

At least one shot hit the suspect, who staggered a few feet into a gated trash bin area behind the restaurant
and collapsed. A paramedic pronounced the gunman dead minutes later. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

A 9 mm handgun has been recovered and is being tested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab
in Orlando. FDLE agents have been called in to investigate the shooting, as is standard operating procedure
when an officer is involved in a shooting.

Smith remains at the Brevard County Detention Center, charged with two counts of kidnapping, and one count
each of robbery with a firearm and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree murder
during the commission of a felony.

The State Attorney's office charged Smith with second-degree murder during the commission of a felony because
police said his companion was shot to death during the course of the crime.

Police Chief Don Carey issued a written statement Sunday regarding the incident.

"Preliminary investigation indicates our officers acted appropriately, in protecting the life of the robbery victim,
from an armed assailant," the statement said.

Melbourne Police Department evidence technicians Scott Dwyer and Jason Danielle collect evidence on the outside deck at T.G.I. Friday’s in Melbourne on Sunday morning. Image © 2003, Craig Bailey, FLORIDA TODAY

T.G.I. Friday's reopened Sunday around 3 p.m. despite the media presence and crime scene tape in the parking lot. Friday's vice president Ray Schollmeyer met with employees shortly before the 270-guest restaurant near Melbourne Square Mall reopened for business.  

"They did what they could do," he said. "Right now they're at home trying to rest and I would imagine that they are traumatized."

Jamie Casanova, a Melbourne Beach resident who was picking up some car stereo equipment at the nearby Best Buy store, stood several feet from the crime scene tape and watched as investigators searched for spent bullets.

The attempted robbery, plus news of two homicides in the past two weeks in Melbourne, drew concern from Casanova. "This town has grown so fast," Casanova said. "It's inevitable that things like this would happen."


Distraught man holds hostage at West Melbourne Toys 'R Us

By Associated Press
January 19, 2004

WEST MELBOURNE — A man distraught about personal problems held an
employee hostage at a Toys 'R Us store for several hours, claiming to have
dynamite taped to his body, before he surrendered.

Marvin Ray Sullivan, who turned 38 on Sunday, ended the standoff after about
three hours, police said. No explosives were found on his body.

"Nobody was hurt," said Lt. Steve Wilkinson, a spokesman for the West Melbourne
Police. "They were smiling and happy to be released."

Sullivan was charged with two counts of kidnapping, one count of planting a hoax
bomb, nine counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal mischief, said
Lisa Bourne, a spokeswoman for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

Sullivan initially took employees Ryan Pope and David Johnson as hostages as
customers and other employees fled the store. More than an hour after the
standoff began, Pope was able to run from the store.

"It was due to negotiation for a pack of cigarettes," Wilkinson said. "He wanted
a pack of cigarettes. When they delivered one of the cigarette boxes, one of the
hostages was released."

Sullivan had a device about the size of a shoe box taped to his arm and claimed to have
dynamite and a triggering device. A bomb squad and SWAT team members were deployed
to the toy store and later swept the store looking for explosives but found none.

"What was actually on his arm ... was actually some kind of brace," said Brevard County
Sheriff Phil Williams. "But he had a box ... or something configured that he claimed was
an explosive device."

Hostage negotiators talked to Sullivan through a store walkie-talkie that the released
hostage had carried out with him.

Sullivan targeted the store because he lived nearby. He was suffering from
marriage problems, Wilkinson said.

Neighboring businesses were evacuated and highway traffic was rerouted around the
store, which is on busy U.S. 192, which links the Melbourne area with Orlando.

West Melbourne is about 65 miles southeast of Orlando.

Police had no immediate information on Sullivan's legal representation. His first court
hearing was set for 1:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Brevard County Jail at Sharpes.

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