Dad Fatally Shoots Son, 2, and Himself After 19-Hour Standoff With Police
A father fatally shot his two-year-old son before turning the gun on himself after holding the little boy hostage for 19 hours in his Georgia home, officials said.
Police responding to a 911 call of a domestic dispute at a home in Buford said they found Thy Ho, 43, holding his girlfriend and several others hostage about 10 p.m. Tuesday.
A 911 caller who identified herself as the girlfriend's 20-year-old daughter said the man inside, later identified as Ho, was threatening to shoot everyone and then commit suicide, authorities said.
"There's a two-year-old and a 15-year-old (inside) and I don't feel they're going to be safe with him around, because he has a history of violence," the woman says during her first call to 911.
During a second 911 call, the young woman begs for emergency responders to come as soon as they can.
"He has a pistol on him... he's inside the house," she says, explaining that she is on the phone with her brother, who is in the home.
"He has a record... can you please send somebody before somebody gets hurt? He is threatening everyone. He is threatening to kill himself... this is not okay." she says.
After the Gwinnett County Police SWAT Team responded to the scene, Ho’s girlfriend and others inside the home were allowed to leave, but Ho refused to release his two-year-old son, Philip Nguyen, to police.
He told his girlfriend: “I’d rather end his life than let you care for him without me,” WSB-TV reported.
The girlfriend's daughter told police Ho was holding a handgun to the little boy's head and refused to put the child or the gun down.
Ho went on to barricade himself and the tot inside the house’s master bedroom and stayed there for 19 hours, cops said.
"The male was also stating that he was ready to die tonight," police said in a news release.
Throughout the ordeal, officers were able to make contact with Ho by phone and by text in efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution.
Ho asked to speak with his girlfriend, but "those requests were not granted due to the training and experience of negotiators," officials said, noting that third party negotiations in hostage situations are usually avoided "for fear of the suspect making a last statement to a loved one."
Ho went on to text a picture of himself and the sleeping baby lying in bed to his parents, who were brought to the scene in hopes that he would surrender, police said.
At 11:17 a.m., he moved a dresser behind the bedroom door to fortify his position and about four hours later at 3:39 p.m., he apologized to officers as they requested that he come to the door.
He went on to ask for food and for cigarettes and eventually negotiators lost contact with him.
Police said a shot was fired through the bedroom door toward tactical officers at 4:34 p.m.
Seconds later, Ho fired two additional shots, which police said hit himself and his son.
Philip was found shot and was rushed into a waiting helicopter that raced him to Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta, but he could not be saved, authorities said.
Ho was brought to Gwinnett Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
A motive for the murder-suicide was not immediately clear. Police reportedly had sporadic contact throughout the day with Ho, who was a registered sex offender, officials said.
Ho was convicted in 1999 for criminal confinement in Indiana, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said. He was released from prison in 2009 and briefly registered as a sex offender in Indiana.
Ho registered as a sex offender with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office in January 2010.
Officials said he was incarcerated in the Gwinnett County Jail three times.
“These terrible events are a sobering reminder of the very real dangers of domestic violence,” the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department wrote on their Facebook page. “Our thoughts and prayers are with little Phillip's family.”