Pittsburgh negotiators new to Facebook wrinkle

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Associated Press

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 6:34 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh police negotiators say they had never dealt with a hostage taker who communicated publicly on Facebook before they convinced a man to surrender after he did just that last week. And now they'll start training for that possibility.

A police commander and three officers involved in Friday's incident met with the media Tuesday.

Lt. Jason Lando says this case — in which a businessman was held at knifepoint in his downtown office — brought the role of social media in a hostage crisis to light. He says negotiators fear that outside communication from others can potentially agitate a hostage taker, put the lives of hostages in jeopardy.

The alleged hostage taker is 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton. He remains jailed after a hearing scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.

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