Man killed after holding policewoman hostage

Criminal shot dead between Lod, B-G Airport after stealing police car, abducting policewoman.

ashdod cop 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
ashdod cop 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A serial burglar and drug addict took a policewoman hostage at gunpoint and led police on an inter-city chase, before being shot dead after opening fire on officers in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Eyal Peretz, 38, of Ashdod, was arrested for taking part in a home burglary and was brought to an Ashdod police station. Peretz was known to the police for previous thefts and had unsuccessfully attempted to break his drug addition in the past. With his hands cuffed behind his back, Peretz asked for drinking water in the police interrogation room, but was unable to drink properly. "In an act of human kindness, the officer rearranged the handcuffs so that the suspect's hands were in front of him, allowing him to drink," Southern Police Commander Uri Bar-Lev, who took part in the pursuit, said. "He took advantage of her kindness, and snatched her gun. He fired a shot in the air to show he was serious, choked the officer and put the gun to her head. The man led the officer to a car, and they drove off," Bar-Lev recounted. With Bar-Lev and Ashdod's police commander Ch.-Supt. Danny Elgarat following behind, Peretz led police near Highway 1, which connects Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. He did not respond to Bar-Lev's radio requests to end the pursuit peacefully. At some stage during the pursuit, Peretz forced the policewoman onto the passenger's side, taking control of the vehicle. After encountering a police roadblock, Peretz opened fire on police, and the officers returned fire, killing him. Bar-Lev praised the actions of the three police officers who returned fire. "When a gun is pointed at police officers, and they recognize they are in danger, this is the correct response. They strove to engage [Peretz] and end the situation, and acted calmly and courageously," Bar-Lev said. "The female officer is in hospital with a shrapnel wound to her leg. She is okay, but underwent difficult hours," Bar-Lev said, after visiting her at the Assaf Harofeh hospital. "Her decision to give him water was an act of kindness," he said, addressing the question of whether rearranging the suspect's handcuffs was a violation of regulations. "We believe the suspect may have been under the heavy influence of drugs. We are checking into this now," he added. The Police Investigation Department has chosen to forego an investigation of the incident, Bar-Lev said, adding that a committee will be appointed to examine the incident and recommend future lessons. The policewoman described the terrifying situation she found herself in during her hostage ordeal. "I thought I was going to die," she said. "I heard him scream at the station commander over the radio. Afterwards he tried to calm me down. It was scary."