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  1. #1
    nitestokker's Avatar
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    One Shot, One Kill!

    The trooper who fired the deadly shot lives across the street from me and is a good friend.

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    Published Tuesday
    July 25, 2006

    Hostage 'said a few prayers' at gunpoint

    BY PAUL HAMMEL




    WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


    RELATED STORY

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    »
    Trooper kills I-80 suspect

    SUTHERLAND, Neb. - A crazed and paranoid stranger held a gun to Kirk Slack's head for nearly six hours Monday.


    Kirk Slack and his wife, Joy, say their feeling of safety in their rural Sutherland home has been shattered since he was taken hostage at gunpoint and held for six hours by a man who walked over from Interstate 80.

    But the burly, 46-year-old railroad conductor said it wasn't fear he felt during the hostage ordeal. It was anger, and a strange sense of peace.

    Anger, because this stranger who had invaded Slack's rural Sutherland home at gunpoint poured out his troubles, in mostly irrational ramblings, in an ordeal that dragged on and on.

    Peace because Slack, who is not a church-goer, said he "had an inner feeling like I'd come out of this unscathed."

    "I said a few prayers to myself. I asked him to bring me home to my family," he said. "I don't know if I had an angel with me. I don't know."

    Monday night, in his first public comments about the incident, Slack expressed thanks to the law enforcement officers who ended the ordeal by shooting and killing the stranger after 41/2 hours of negotiations failed. The man was later identified as Silvio Conrado, 30, of Lancaster, Calif.

    "I shook (the officers') hands and told them, 'You don't get paid enough,'" Slack said.

    By state law, a grand jury is impaneled every time a person dies in police custody. A special prosecutor will be appointed, officials said.

    Slack, a married father of three, was taken hostage about 12:15 a.m. Monday by Conrado, whose borrowed car apparently broke down on Interstate 80, which passes a few yards north of the Slack home.

    Dozens of strangers have wandered over to the home for help, but this time was different.

    Conrado pulled a handgun from his pants as he stood at the doorway, yelling that his girlfriend had hurt him. After Slack tried to slam the door on him, Conrado fired a shot into the porch and shoved his way inside.

    His strength and "wild eyes" made Slack believe that Conrado was on drugs, possibly methamphetamine.

    "It was like he had super-human strength," Slack said.

    Slack's wife, Joy, was on the phone when the stranger came to the door, but responded to her husband's scream and ran for a handgun.

    When she found her husband, Conrado already had a gun pointed at his head.

    "He told me if I don't lay the gun down, he'd shoot (Kirk)," said Joy Slack, who works at a Sutherland nursing home.

    The couple said Conrado wasn't making much sense but asked for a car and money.

    Joy Slack wadded up the $3 she had to make it look like more money. But when the trio got to the garage, Conrado forced Kirk Slack into the couple's 2001 Ford Focus with him. They drove west.

    Conrado asked for beer, so they drove to Ole's Lodge, a motel and convenience store in Paxton, 12 miles to the west.

    But the Focus had only an eighth of a tank of gas, so Conrado decided to steal another vehicle.

    Conrado, still pointing his gun to Slack's head, confronted a woman walking to her Ford Explorer.

    "You don't want my car," responded Mari Warner, a clerk at the store. Warner thought what she saw was some kind of joke by a couple of drunks.

    "Give me your keys or I'll shoot this guy," Conrado responded, firing his semiautomatic pistol into the pavement for emphasis.

    Conrado and his hostage then drove off westward, slowing to 35 mph at times, and then speeding up to almost 60, as a handful of state troopers and local sheriff's deputies fell in behind.

    Slack said that during the drive, Conrado told him he'd made a big drug deal for the Mafia, which was now out to get him.

    He said that Conrado told him that if he cooperated, he'd be home in the morning. Slack said he didn't buy it. "It's hard to believe a guy when he has a gun to your head for six hours."

    But Slack said he didn't try to resist, thinking he would be OK.

    Near Ogallala, troopers used stop sticks to flatten the tires, but Conrado kept driving.

    Eventually, with tires smoking, the Explorer's transmission blew out and the vehicle rolled to a stop about 1:30 a.m. in the median on I-80 about a mile west of Big Springs.

    The Interstate was blocked off. Troopers provided Conrado with bottled water and a cell phone. He and his hostage remained in the car.

    During the 41/2 hours of negotiating, Slack said Conrado talked to his parents in Spanish and, in English, with a girlfriend named Monica in California.

    "I could hear his mother screaming at him . . . and I could hear the girlfriend screaming at him, 'Let the guy go. He didn't do anything to you. . . . Do the right thing.'"

    Several times, Conrado agreed to release Slack but then would renege.

    Finally, just before sunrise, negotiators were able to get Conrado to allow Slack out of the car. But Conrado, still pointing his gun at his head, climbed out right behind him.

    Negotiators, Slack said, told the gunman, "Let's resolve this."

    But Conrado continued to ramble. "You can't reason with anyone who's in that state of mind," Slack said.

    Then, Slack said, he heard a shot.

    He ran and threw himself down on the pavement. It took a few moments to realize that Conrado had been shot, by a State Patrol SWAT team sharpshooter hiding yards behind the car, and that Conrado had not shot himself.

    Slack said he thanked several of the 15 to 20 law enforcement officers, from the Nebraska State Patrol, Deuel and Keith Counties, and Ogallala.

    The incident marked the third gun-related crime in six years associated with an out-of-state motorist who pulled off I-80 near Sutherland or Paxton.

    In 2000, Texas fugitive Charles Moses shot and killed Paxton farmer Robert Sedlacek as the farmer checked a vacant farmstead.

    In 2001, an Illinois fugitive, Billy Jack Reed, shot and killed Joyce Boyer when she answered a knock at the door of her rural Sutherland home.

    Slack and his wife said they had been aware of the earlier incidents, but now their sense of safety has been shattered. They might think twice about letting their two sons, Brandon, 11, and Kirk, 14, ride their bikes on the rural roads. They also have a grown daughter, Rebecca, who lives in Sterling, Colo.

    Linda Conrado, the suspect's sister who also lives in Lancaster, Calif., was stunned by the news.

    "It's not him," she said. "He's not that type of person. He was a good man and I say that honestly, not just because he was my brother."

    Linda Conrado said her brother worked for a school district as a teacher's aide, working mainly with disabled children. "He was good with kids and was a great father and uncle to my children," she said. "It was a terrible thing to hear."

    She said her brother, who has an 8-year-old son, left Lancaster about a month ago with plans to visit Wyoming. She didn't know why he was in Nebraska.

    Conrado has multiple driving-related offenses in Los Angeles County, including three drunken-driving convictions since 1996, records show.

    Warner, the Paxton store clerk, said Conrado's behavior made her think he was suicidal.

    "The only conclusion I can come to is he had a death wish, and he didn't want to do it himself."

    World-Herald staff writer Abe Winter contributed to this report.


    Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom

    Copyright ©2006 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or distributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

  2. #2
    Ducky's Avatar
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    Good deal. Please shake his hand and thank him for me, will you?
    \\
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  3. #3
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Without snipers like that, there'd be a lot more hostage-taking.

    (\__/)
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    (")_(") signature to help him gain world domination.

  4. #4
    nitestokker's Avatar
    nitestokker is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky
    Good deal. Please shake his hand and thank him for me, will you?
    No problem! He's a really shy guy who doesn't get excited about much and is usually all business. A side note: he just got a tranfer across the state and was set to leave next week, I believe. Nebraska state law requires that he be on paid leave until the grand jury investigates, which may be six months. Special bonus for him....now he can move and get settled in and doesn't have to burn any vacation to do so. Some guys would have a hard time, but he's a strong soul and I think he'll be fine. I am qualified to make that judgement because I got 13 confirmed kills in the first Gulf war.


    I wasn't there, but this is how I understand it went down from friends who were there:
    The way they executed the operation was sweet. The suspect vehicle was in the median facing west bound. The negotiators were positioned IN FRONT of the vehicle, thereby drawing the bad guy's attention. The sniper utilized the darkness (note the time frame) to low crawl into position in the grass behind the vehicle. When daylight broke he had a clean shot to the back of the head from a few yards away with the sun to his back.

  5. #5
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Snipers are so sneaky - And patient

    My cousin spent a large portion of the Vietnam war in trees and fields, from what little he will tell us about it, waiting on targets of opportunity.

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  6. #6
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    Good guys 1, bad guys 0.

    We are the thin blue line
    between you
    and all the money in the world.

    And no you can't have any.

  7. #7
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    General Patten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    Snipers are so sneaky - And patient
    thats what makes them so effective.

    congrats to the sniper. Pulling the trigger has got to be a hard thing to do sometimes, but an innocent life still remains because of him.

    give him a mighty salute for me.
    SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING:
    Lead is very hazardous to your health.
    Always include Kevlar in your daily diet.


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  9. #9
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    "While interviewing an anonymous US Special Forces
    soldier, a Reuters News agent asked the soldier what he felt when
    sniping members of Al Quaeda in Afghanistan. The soldier shrugged and
    replied,

    "Recoil.""


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  10. #10
    General Patten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1sgkelly
    "While interviewing an anonymous US Special Forces
    soldier, a Reuters News agent asked the soldier what he felt when
    sniping members of Al Quaeda in Afghanistan. The soldier shrugged and
    replied,

    "Recoil.""


    lol
    SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING:
    Lead is very hazardous to your health.
    Always include Kevlar in your daily diet.


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    - Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

  11. #11
    Emily is offline Corporal
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    [QUOTE=nitestokker]he just got a tranfer across the state and was set to leave next week, I believe. QUOTE]

    Hey, atleast he went out with a bang! Lame joke, I know.

    Is he being transfered to Troop A?

  12. #12
    nitestokker's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Ya know, that's what makes America great and makes guys like me want to serve the public....The previous posts on this thread. The guys and girls who will not hesitate to lay down their lives for a stranger, and not even second guess the sit-rep. And even when a total stranger does it and they all jump on board without even knowing all the facts....as long as it's a brother or sister in the hot seat, we are there for them no matter what! That ROCKS, and that is why I love being a cop! Peace, everyone!

  13. #13
    nitestokker's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Emily]
    Quote Originally Posted by nitestokker
    he just got a tranfer across the state and was set to leave next week, I believe. QUOTE]

    Hey, atleast he went out with a bang! Lame joke, I know.

    Is he being transfered to Troop A?
    He's going to Lincoln, HQ Troop. We Will miss him, but it's a small state and a big state at the same time.........you know what I mean. We will all see each other again sometime.

 

 

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