A man accused of assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill his mother in New York’s Queens borough is in a unique, days-long standoff with police. He simply clambered into a tree outside his house and refused to come down.
The incident began on Wednesday afternoon, when police were reportedly called to the home of 44-year-old Roody Thomas because of a domestic disturbance in which he allegedly threatened his 65-year-old mother. He initially went onto the roof of his home to evade capture, then jumped into a nearby 30-foot tree as more police units arrived to encourage his surrender.
More than two days later, he remained in the tree, with streets blocked off to traffic as police, friends and neighbors tried unsuccessfully to coax him off his branch. Some even offered him beer or rum to come down, according to the New York Daily News, but by Thursday evening, he apparently began to relish the attention, saying, “Now the world is watching.”
The Daily News quoted neighbors as saying the police response was “overkill” and that Thomas didn’t threaten anyone, apparently ignoring the accusation that he told his elderly mother that he would kill her. Residents also defended him as nonviolent, despite the fact that he was wanted, too, for punching his 50-year-old girlfriend in the face.
Another neighbor told the newspaper that police were “holding the guy hostage,” adding, “He’s not doing anything. It’s not illegal to climb your own tree in your yard, guys.” That view apparently overlooked the fact that police were trying to arrest Thomas for assault, not tree-climbing.