Hostage situation ends tragically - The Explorer: News

Hostage situation ends tragically

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Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:00 am | Updated: 10:26 am, Fri Apr 25, 2014.

The man who took hostages in an Oro Valley neighborhood after being pursued by police for distributing narcotics was armed with three .44 Magnum revolvers when he took his own life around noon on April 4. 

The night prior, the man, since identified as 34-year-old Steven Wahl, was under surveillance by the Pima County Sheriff Department’s (PCSD) directed patrol.

According to Chief Deputy Chris Nanos, Wahl was being tracked for distributing heroin that led to an overdose.

Sometime after witnessing what appeared to be a car-to-car rifle exchange, police attempted to pull over Wahl, at which point a short pursuit followed.

Wahl ran from his vehicle into the desert, while his passenger, 55-year-old Marie Margeso, fled into the Oro Valley Hospital.

Margeso was soon apprehended and booked on possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two outstanding warrants.

Wahl, in the meantime, began breaking into a residence in the neighborhood of Rancho Vistoso. The homeowner called the Oro Valley Police Department, who arrived a short time later.

Wahl then fired several rounds at officers before fleeing to another nearby home.  

Officers did not fire back, nor was anyone injured in the shooting according to Nanos, who spoke with reporters while the incident was still unfolding.

At some point between fleeing the first home and breaking into a second home, Wahl took all his clothes off. 

PCSD public information officer Courtney Rodriguez said the reasoning behind Wahl doing so is unclear. 

In the second home, Wahl took three hostages at gunpoint, releasing two relatively quickly, but keeping a third, said to be a woman in her late teens or early 20s.

Officers continually attempted negotiations with Wahl, though Nanos said he continually hung up on them.

Rodriguez said PCSD is still in the process of reviewing all of the documents related to negotiations. 

Wahl released the final hostage at about 5 a.m., more than six hours after the initial pursuit began.

He then remained in the house for several more hours while police attempted to talk him out.

Robots were sent in for a room-by-room search. Eventually, it was discovered that Wahl had shot and killed himself in an upstairs bathroom.

PCSD continues to work with the family, which has been temporarily displaced and staying in a hotel.

“We will attempt to get the family plugged in with Victim Services,” said Rodriguez. “Advocates from Victim Services were on scene. We are done processing the crime scene but the home was uninhabitable and will need some repair work.”

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