Region: Northern Utopia
Tauranga Hostage Standoff Enters Day Two
After a full 24-hours of negotiations, Federal Police have reported they are no closer to ending the standoff with a cult in Trace County. One-hundred and two members, led by their leader Ashton Carter have held up in a compound after a near thirty-minute gunfight with police yesterday, leading to the deaths of three people.
Hostage negotiations began first thing this morning, and were reported to be going well, however, things quickly fell apart when Carter said he had new visions to stay with his people,
" At the start of Friday, Mr. Carter was willing to leave the compound peacefully. This evening he later told negotiators that he had been given a vision to stay with his people.", Officer in Charge, David Palmer.
Police are being challenged, as the group is well armed and stocked with supplies,
"We are unsure if we can wait them out, and because of the heat warnings this weekend, along with the safety of the children, we are trying to avoid shutting off the electricity, however it may come to that."
Negotiators are trying to avoid escalating the situation and are focused on trying to free the twenty-eight children still trapped inside.
Political Push Back for the Situation
The hostage situation has quickly built to national headlines and fueled members of the radical right who believe this is a massive government overreach. Protests have broken out outside the police zone and throughout the nation calling for the police to back down,
"This is a church, a clear violation of these people's rights, for what, some guns?" Steve Atherton, a community resident.
Even members of the legislature have questioned the tactics of the Federal Police which led to the deaths of two members of the group and one Federal Officer. Director Vance of the Federal Police has stood by his officers,
"Our officers were serving a valid search warrant for the illegal holding of explosives and modified guns to the value of over half a million dollars. Ashton Carter had and still has the opportunity to end this for the safety of everyone involved. He is the only one to blame."