Upstate man, former FBI negotiator, shares insight into Boston - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate man, former FBI negotiator, shares insight into Boston standoff

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Once law enforcement found suspect No. 2, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a boat in a backyard in Watertown, MA, they had to be very careful in how to reach out to him.

Oftentimes in situations like these, negotiators take charge of a scene, trying to convince a subject to surrender peacefully.

The former FBI chief of negotiations, Steve Romano, now lives in Simpsonville. He explained negotiations like a dance. The negotiators try to talk down the subject's emotions, so he/she can think rationally, but the subject is the one that leads that dance. Violence is always an option, but the negotiator's goal is to not let anyone else get hurt.

When shots rang through Watertown just after 7 p.m, the world waited through tense moments. No one knew whether the subject, a 19-year old man who police think is behind the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, was shot.

Romano said it's likely that Tsarnaev and his brother, 26 year-old, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had a plan. He expects that the plan probably changed a lot, especially after his brother was killed early Friday morning.

Romano said age had nothing to do with how law enforcement would negotiate with him, but "I have to believe. I don't care who this, this person is, when there is a manhunt of historic proportions going on, he's scared."

Romano said negotiators on any scene have to start with a clean slate.

"We can't undo what's already happened on April 15, the bombing has happened. The deaths have taken place. The injuries have taken place. But what we can do from this point on is try to avoid any further violence," said Romano.

Romano said the uncertainty Dzhokhar Tsarnaev must have been feeling was dangerous for the team, especially since he's been known to have explosives on him. He said men oftentimes express their fear through anger.

With explosives in question, law enforcement needed to be extra careful, negotiating from a distance. The area must be evacuated, in case of detonation.

Romano said the next question is whether the suspect would talk. He said the longer the subject talks, the better chance law enforcement has of resolving the standoff, peacefully, because he'll have time to cool off.

"If you're successful in lowering someone's emotions, the chances of raising their ability to reason increases," Romano said.

Only then, he said, can a suspect reconsider his actions and end the situation.

On the anniversary of the Branch Davidian raid in Waco, TX, and in the same week as the Columbine High School shooting and the Virginia Tech massacre, the month of April, for some reason, has seen a lot of violence. Romano said it was a month he dreaded when he worked for the FBI.

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