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Air Force Courtesy: US Air Force

Published on April 11th, 2014 | by Editorial Staff

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Air Force Security Holds Vacationing Family At Gun Point

A family on spring break vacation was visiting the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force when a group of Air Force security officers arrived and held them at gun point, believing their vehicle to be “stolen.”  Some of the family members were taken out of the vehicle and placed in handcuffs.  The actions were taken when someone had called 911 from the parking lot claiming the people in the van were breaking into other vehicles.

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A spring break vacation turned into a nightmare for a Columbus family visiting the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force when four police officers in three cruisers drew guns and forced a grandmother and a mother to the ground as two young children screamed in fear from what authorities thought was a “stolen” vehicle.

Alice Hill, 65, her daughter-in-law Wendy Hill, 31, and Hill’s two children, Aaron, 8, and Brooke, 5, were pulling out of the museum parking lot after Aaron and Alice had counted the number of out-of-state cars on the way to their family minivan, WKRC-TV reports.

Unbeknownst to the family, an onlooker had called 911 and reported that the family was burglarizing vehicles in the parking lot.

On their way out of the lot, police pulled the vehicle over as one officer stood behind his door and drew his gun on Alice Hill, who was driving.

“I’m looking in my side view mirror and I see him step out of his vehicle,” Hill described to WKRC. “(He’s) behind his door with his gun drawn pointing it at me. I’m looking at my 8-year-old grandson, his eyes are full of tears and he says, ‘This is the worst day of my life.’”

Hill said she and her daughter-in-law were taken from the car at gunpoint, ordered to their knees, handcuffed, and detained in the back of a police cruiser, Dayton Daily News reports. Meanwhile, the two children screamed in fear in the backseat.

“My grandchildren are screaming,” Alice Hill recalled. “I mean they are hysterical, they saw the gun.”

“My 5-year-old daughter is asking, ‘Is grandma going to get shot?’” Wendy Hill told WKRC.

Alice Hill said that while they were detained the officer told them the license plates on their van were stolen. It was not until hours later that the Hill family was informed about the 911 call reporting them for burglary and the allegedly suspicious behavior of peering into car windows and looking at license plates.

WPAFB security officials said the incident turned out to be a misunderstanding, and that the authorities had followed protocol given the information reported through the 911 call.

“Our security force, based on limited information, made a high-risk traffic stop and believed that this vehicle was stolen based on the information they received,” CC Cassie Barlow, 88th Airbase Wing Commander at Wright-Patterson AFB, told the Daily News.

“An initial check of the vehicle plates with the National Law Enforcement Terminal System reported the vehicle as stolen,” according to a statement from the base Tuesday to the Daily News.

Base officials have since apologized to the Hill family.

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  • emory557

    Yep. Sounds like the good old military police in action. Unless these guys have been deployed somewhere, they’ve never really done any real police work. They desperately want to play cops, but not much crime happens on military bases. When they get a call, they get really excited. Frequently in these cases, protocol trumps common sense.

  • Pat Bidwell

    the plates came back stolen it was standard protocol and they where in the right you can only go by the information given, safety of the base > to a short amount of time in handcuffs. enough said.

    • Josh Nelson

      So you draw down on woman and children with out telling them to get out. Sounds like to me someone can’t control their emotions enough to do the job at hand. Get out of here with that. How about you if this was your family? Something tells me you wouldn’t be so at ease with the whole Idea. I read the full story on this and an Army MP commented on how AF security forces procedures were messed up and after working with both, if this was the Army or any other branch would not have happened that way. Only the Air Force would find a van full of woman and children dangerous.

      • Thomas Dunlop

        Very unprofessional probably wouldn’t happen that way in civilan life. Seems like some common sense was missing there.

    • Dan Coburn

      How does plates come back stolen. Maybe the dumb ass typed it in wrong and didn’t confirm the plate number.

    • ICBM

      Safety of the base–two women and two kids–now if they were in berkas….

  • James hegarty

    SNAFU!

  • Kris Hurd

    I’m sure it popped as stolen b/c of the 911 call. Upon the SP/LEs stopping the vehicle- cooperatively I might add- they could have just asked to see their license and registration. Case closed. But no, had to traumatize an innocent family. Wth?

  • David Thompson

    Sad, Sad, Sad! Law enforcement 101, check your facts, draw your sidearm when you are going to use, now for the fine line, do not wait till you are too late and dead, I for one would rather be judged by twelve, than carried in a box by six, the command and control section may need some retraining on how their officers are dispatched , wrong intel gets people killed or injuries abound. sounds like the officers did as they should.

  • marcdepiolenc

    The only high risk in this incident was to the family of innocent citizens. When will police start acting like police – defenders of the innocent – again?

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