Night beat reporter Beth Wischmeyer wrote a fine account of her Christmas Eve in Marion right here.
Wischmeyer and I covered the 12-hour standoff with a man named Jonathan Mandler that kept a S.W.A.T. crew outside a home in that town of 800 for most of the day.
Standoffs are a hurry up and wait operation for dozens of people, and I’m pretty sure none of the people who showed up to help on Monday really wanted to be there on Christmas Eve. Mandler probably never pictured a Christmas Eve like that, either. Mr. Mandler spent Christmas in prison.
Here’s what the setup looked like as the Bearcat armored vehicle arrived from Sioux Falls.
Here’s Turner County Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier at a Monday afternoon police briefing. He’d been dealing with Mandler through the night on Sunday, as deputies scoured the town looking for him after he ditched his SUV and fled on foot. He came back to work Monday to monitor a perimeter for the negotiators.
Turner County Sheriff’s deputies, S.W.A.T. officers, DCI agents and the others involved in negotiations were getting paid. Not that they were happy to be dealing with a standoff, but they were working.
These guys Byron’s talking to here? The Marion volunteer fire department guys? They weren’t getting paid a dime.
They hung around most of the day. The volunteers were there to clear off a space for a medical helicopter to land, in the event one was needed.
The look on this guy’s face says it all.
The next day, a man got into a standoff with officers in Vermillion before committing suicide. That was also the day that Sioux Falls Police ruled the death of an 18-month-old to be “suspicious.” Then there’s this, this and this.
A busy holiday, to be sure.