Man takes ex-girlfriend, children hostage in Phoenix home

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Wentworth Hemmings By Jennifer Thomas Wentworth Hemmings By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A 40-year-old man is in custody after Phoenix police say he took his ex-girlfriend and several children hostage on Saturday.

Wentworth Hemmings broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home near Indian School Road and 59th Avenue in Phoenix around 6 a.m., according to police. The woman, her four minor children and a family friend were asleep in the home. Hemmings is the father of two of the children.

Sgt. Steve Martos said Hemmings held the occupants at gunpoint and made threatening statements.

At some point, the family friend was able to escape the home by jumping through a window. He ran from the home and called police.

Officers arrived and attempted to make contact with the suspect.

Martos said the ex-girlfriend escaped the home with her 20-month-old daughter in her arms. She told the officers that Hemmings had a gun and was holding her 16-year-old son, 14-year-old daughter and 5-month-old daughter hostage.

Officers evacuated neighbors in the area and established a perimeter around the home. SWAT teams were called in.

The woman’s teenage daughter managed to escape. Martos said the suspect shot at her as she ran from the home, but she was not hit.

She told the officers that she was sexually assaulted by Hemmings after her mother escaped.

Negotiators spoke with Hemmings throughout the standoff. Just before 6 p.m. he released his victims and surrendered to police.

The baby, who is Hemmings daughter, was taken to an area hospital to be checked by medical personnel.

Police said the woman had recently filed a restraining order against Hemmings, but it had not yet been served.

Hemmings will be booked on sexual assault and several counts of aggravated assault and kidnapping.