99-year-old woman held hostage says she helped calm the suspect - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

99-year-old woman held hostage says she helped calm the suspect prior to his surrender

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -

 A 99-year-old woman who was held hostage for several hours in West Valley City, Utah early Saturday morning shared her experience with Fox 13 after the suspect's arrest.

Unified Police arrested 18-year-old Freddy Alexander Velasquez after a SWAT standoff. Officers tell Fox 13 that they had approached Velasquez earlier on, but he held a gun to his head and ran into a nearby home to hide.

The home he chose belonged to 99-year-old Doris Rucker Wasden, who said she did not hear Velasquez break into her home around midnight. Officers tell Fox 13 that Velasquez shot Waden's back door out and entered her home. He then pointed a gun at her grandchildren. Her family escaped the house before Wasden realized what was happening.

Wasden tells Fox 13 that Velasquez then confronted her.

“He was just scared I guess, and he grabbed me by my hands, and then I just sit on the floor on my bum so I didn’t get hurt," Wasden recalled. "And I just got back in bed and he come in again and then he started to talk to me. And I said ‘I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.’ And then he realized I was a very old woman, so he was pretty nice to me after that."

Wasden said Velasquez sat on the edge of her bed and they talked for a while. He would sometimes leave the room, then come back to check on her.

"My brother said I saved my life just by doing that," she said. "Saved his life."

SWAT negotiated with Velasquez for hours to let Wasden out. Police said he finally did around 3 a.m. and then gave himself up a few hours later, and was arrested.

Wasden thinks keeping Velasquez calm helped end the standoff peacefully. Her grandson, Jim, said that is just the type of person she is.

"Grandma’s disposition is what she’s taught us: that you can’t have animosity and you can’t be angry with the young man," he told Fox 13. "He made a mistake and we don't hold resentment, and we just hope that he gets some help and hope that his family is okay."

Looking back, Wasden said she realizes how dangerous their situation was, but she said she never felt afraid of Velasquez. Wasden is celebrating her 100th birthday next week. She said she is expecting a party, but did not anticipate this sort of excitement to close out her 99th year.

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