Man arrested after holding young child hostage for 5 hours, stabbing two others

Willie Lee Holmes


Gainesville Police Department’s (GPD) SWAT team was called out yesterday after a man stabbed his wife and held a young child hostage for about 5 hours. Willie Lee Holmes, 30, finally surrendered, and the child was recovered safely.

Holmes was arrested on June 29 after a domestic dispute. He had smashed all four windows of his wife’s car on June 27, and then on June 29, he smashed her TV and broke the ceiling fan, then broke a window in their residence. His wife said he had not been staying at the residence since that date, but she had allowed him to spend the night on September 2. However, on the morning of September 3, his wife was on the phone with an individual she was “seeing” when Holmes confronted her and became enraged.

At that point, she locked herself in the bathroom, but Holmes allegedly grabbed a knife and began trying to break down the door to the bathroom. His wife tried to hold the door shut, but Holmes stabbed through the door, cutting her hands in several places.

The woman’s 17-year-old nephew was awakened by the incident and said he saw Holmes with a knife, trying to force his way into the bathroom and yelling that he was going to kill the woman. The nephew pulled Holmes away, allowing the woman to escape. In the process, he was also stabbed on the hand and head. The woman grabbed her 8-year-old child and ran out of the house, pursued by Holmes, who still had the knife.

A neighbor told police that she was getting ready for work when she heard the woman yelling, “Friend help me. He’s going to kill me.” She saw the woman running from the house with her daughter, with Holmes chasing after them with a knife. She let the woman into her house, where the woman hid in the closet with her daughter. The woman sustained stab wounds to the head, arms, face, and back.

When GPD officers arrived at the home in the 600 block of NE Waldo Road at about 9:00 a.m., Holmes went back into his house, and the woman and the teen were transported to the hospital.

The Negotiations Response Team (NRT), SWAT team, and Emergency Services Unit then responded, and officers tried several times to make contact with Holmes by telephone and through a public address system, asking him to release the 4-year-old boy who remained with him inside the house, but Holmes refused. After about 5 hours of negotiations with NRT, Holmes agreed to release the child, and he eventually agreed to surrender.

A lot of personnel from the various teams and also from Gainesville Fire Rescue stood in the heat for hours while waiting for the situation to resolve.

Holmes was charged with attempted felony murder, false imprisonment of a child under the age of 13, and aggravated battery on the teenager. Holmes sustained several stab wounds, believed to be self-inflicted, and was transported and admitted to Shands. The officers who responded were notified today that Holmes had tested positive for COVID-19 and that they had been exposed to the virus.

    • Wonder why the worst criminals in the US come to Gainesville and stay? This place and its policies attract and enable criminals to practice their craft. I’ve seen at least 6 CBS 48 hours shows that happened here in this small community, not like its LA but has about as much big name crimes. A real proving ground for murderers and serial killers.

  • Well, this mess apparently turned out as well as it could have, in the short term, thanks to the nephew and the neighbor…
    We shall see what happens in the long term…
    The criminal “justice” system seems to have abandoned the pursuit of justice…

  • It’d be interesting to find out where things started going wrong with the couple. And how they could have avoided crossing paths and being a couple.

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