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9-1-1 Call Released for WPAFB Security Mishap
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE -- Tonight we're learning more about why Air Force security held an innocent Columbus family at gunpoint for about an hour.
We were the first station in Dayton to tell you about this family visit to the Air Force Museum. Military personnel said they suspected the family was driving a stolen car and were looking to steal another car from the parking lot last Friday. Those suspicions were false. Friday, ABC 22/FOX 45 received surveillance video from the museum's parking lot and the 9-1-1 call that started it all.
Dispatch: 911, what is your emergency?
Caller: I'm at WPAFB Museum parking lot and we can see somebody checking doors. They just opened the doors of a Honda Odyssey.
Dispatch: I just got a call from someone in the Museum parking lot about a guy that was walking around trying to get in different doors and finally got into one.
That 911 call sent several military personnel to stop Wendy Hill, her mother-in-law and two children.
"He said we were observed trying to break into vehicles. I said what? He said we have an eye witness. I said you had better go back and test your eyewitness for drugs and alcohol because we didn't touch a vehicle," said grandmother Alice Hill.
Their 8-year-old son was actually just looking around at license plates to see how far people had traveled to visit the museum. And now this family visiting from Columbus started to feel unwelcome.
"He said, 'Put your hands together in the small of your back,' and then he put the cuffs on. I'm asking him, 'What have I done? Why are you putting the cuffs on me?' He didn't answer," said Alice.
"It was the worst feeling in the world. I had the thought I need to call for help and realized they're already here. They're the ones doing it," said Wendy.
To make matters worse, when officers ran their license plate, "There was an immediate yellow flashing light that came up and said stolen vehicle," said Cassie Barlow, 88th Airbase Wing Commander at Wright-Patterson.
Eventually, the officers realized the car was not stolen, but the damage had already been done, especially since the children saw the whole thing.
"I haven't been able to sleep for days because every time I close my eyes I hear their screams, their terror," said Wendy. "I hear my 5-year-old daughter ask is Grandma going to be shot?"
"You have to be very diligent with the techniques and procedures in a high-risk traffic stop and that's exactly what they were doing," said Barlow. "We regret that it happened that way and we ruined their day at the museum and we would like them to come back so we can fix that."
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office came by after hearing about the story to give gifts and help give their children a favorable impression of police officers. Hill appreciates their visit, but says she and her children still have a long way to go before they are completely healed from this incident.
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