A tumultuous week for law enforcement officials around Paris, France culminated today in two separate hostage situations. French authorities say the suspects in Wednesday’s mass shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been killed in a police standoff in a small town outside the French capital.
Meanwhile, police in Paris surrounded a kosher market after an alleged accomplice of the Charlie Hebdo suspects took several hostages there. Reports are that four hostages are dead and that the suspect, 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly,was killed when police stormed the market at almost the exact same time police outside the city were rushing the warehouse where the Charlie Hebdo suspects had holed up. His girlfriend, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, was reportedly helping him, though it is unclear if she was inside the market or assisting him from outside. French television has been quoted as saying she is still on the loose.
Coulibaly was said to have “close ties” to the Charlie Hebdo suspects, French brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, and had allegedly demanded that French police let them leave the warehouse where they holed up or he would kill the hostages at the market. He is also suspected in the killing of a French police officer Thursday in the Montrouge area of Paris. How do police handle delicate hostage situations like these, especially when you have two connected incidents? What are the safety concerns that hostage negotiators have to take into account?
Dana Lewis, correspondent for Al Jazeera America currently on the ground in France; Al Jazeera America can be seen in Los Angeles and southern California on Time Warner Channel 445, AT&T U-Verse 1219, DirecTV 347 and Dish Channel 215.
Chris Voss, founder of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that coaches the application of hostage negotiation strategies to the boardroom and personal life. He is also a retired special agent with the FBI, where he served as the agency’s lead international hostage negotiator.