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Michigan Trooper reflects on I-75 standoff

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MONROE, MI (WNWO) - A 5-hour standoff on I-75 Thursday had a peaceful resolution. And it’s all thanks to the hard work of trained negotiators with the Michigan State Police.

Thursday morning’s standoff closed down I-75 in Monroe County for over 5 hours. 37-year-old Juan Colon of Pontiac, Michigan barricaded himself in his car after leading police in a car chase spanning three counties. H e broadcast it all on social media.

“During the pursuit," described First Lieutenant Tony Cuevas, "the suspect was using the Facebook Live Application to broadcast the fact that he was suicidal. That he was going to kill law enforcement. Also, that he was armed.”

After using multiple phones to negotiate law enforcement, Colon tossed aside his gun and surrendered. NBC 24 had the chance to talk to Trooper Sierra Hammond, the person on the other end of those phone calls.

“This call wasn’t so different than any other call,"commented Hammond. "It was on the freeway, so we shut down 75 and got a lot of publicity. It didn’t go any different than most calls and it ended peacefully.”

She explained the most important thing she can do when negotiating with a suspect is listen. “They want to be heard. A lot of times its people that they feel nobody has ever listened to them, so it’s just listening. Giving them a chance to say their peace and listen.”

She adds that the rise in social media can make the job more difficult. “Cellphones are huge. When we’re talking to somebody on their cellphone- they hang up, well now they’re online. They’re on Facebook and this and that. So, it’s difficult to try to get them to focus on us.”

However, police are adding that Thursday’s Facebook live was actually helpful.

“It did give us a snippet of his mentality," said Cuevas. "We knew that what we had as far as intel about him wanting to commit suicide was validated from his own statements, so it actually worked out in our favor.”

The investigation is ongoing, so they could not discuss the particulars of how they talked Mr. Colon into surrendering.

But when we asked them how they manage to keep up their own stamina: “Do you guy’s have any tips or tricks to keep up your own endurance during that?"

"Coffee," Hammond responded with a laugh.

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