Armed man held 11 children, girlfriend in Georgia motel before stabbing self: police
Google StreetView image of the rite4us Inn & Suites hotel in Decatur, Georgia (Google Maps)
Kathleen Foody, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 5, 2016 8:05AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 5, 2016 4:45PM EST
DECATUR, Ga. -- A man armed with a knife held 11 children and his girlfriend inside a motel room for five hours before he stabbed himself in the neck Tuesday morning, ending a standoff with police, authorities said.
No one else was injured.
Authorities had surrounded the motel and tried to negotiate with Korrie Thomas, 36, before a SWAT team eventually stormed the room and found him critically injured, police said.
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said Tuesday that Thomas should have reported to prison to begin a 15-year sentence in November, after he pleaded guilty last year to armed robbery and aggravated assault. A judge sentenced Thomas to nine years behind bars followed by probation.
On Tuesday, police initially responded to the Rite4us Inn & Suites motel about 2 a.m. for a domestic assault. It was not immediately clear who made the call or what happened.
A woman and children ranging in age from 3 months to 17 years old were inside the room and Thomas would not allow anyone to leave, DeKalb County police Maj. Stephen Fore said in a statement.
Details about the police negotiations with Thomas were not released.
Thomas was taken to a hospital. He faces charges of false imprisonment and obstruction. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.
County and state officials were searching for safe housing and other assistance for the woman and the children, after determining they weren't injured or neglected, said DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center director Trenny Stovall. She said authorities believe the woman and Thomas are parents of 10 of the children, while the oldest child is Thomas' brother.
She said the family had been living in the motel, but it's not clear how long or how many rooms they used.
"Our goal is to keep the family together in a safe situation," Stovall said. "They're all in school, and we want to be sure they are able to continue. Separation can add trauma."
Online jail records show Thomas had been arrested on seven other occasions in DeKalb County, including charges of battery. Only the 2015 armed robbery and aggravated assault case appears in the county's online court records.
Decatur is about 10 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
Associated Press writer Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed to this report.