Babysitter Standoff: KEPR talks to hostages

Babysitter Standoff: KEPR talks to hostages »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. -- A babysitter in Richland took hostage two young girls Friday night. For the fourth time in a month, the SWAT unit was called out. This time to Haney's Inn at the corner of Stevens and the Bypass Highway. Police responded knowing it had the potential to become a worst case scenario, but the mother of the hostages told KEPR she thinks it's simply a misunderstanding.

"I saw police pointing at our door with guns, so we were like really really scared," said Kajalee Millard. The 10-year-old doesn’t have a reason to be scared anymore, she’s safe. What started out as a quick babysitting job, turned into a stand-off and it still could turn out to be a misunderstanding.

“He sat a couple times for the kids,” said Danielle Millard. She says she never had a worry about him and didn’t Friday night either. Millard says she left 58-year-old Thomas Bulleck in charge of her two girls. She had errands to run, tomorrow is Kajalee’s birthday party. Gifts and a cake needed to be picked up.

When she pulled up to the inn, she saw SWAT outside her building. “My kids are my life. I was a nervous wreck,” she said. Friday night around seven, police received a disturbing report. “Dispatch said there was a guy outside one of the rooms at the Haney Inn waving a gun and acting odd,” said Captain Jeff Taylor, Richland Police. When police arrived on scene, Bulleck was inside the Millard’s room with Kajalee and Jozare. Police say there was no reasoning with the man.

“They were able to communicate with him a few times he wasn't cooperating he wasn't coming out,” said Taylor. “Police were knocking on the door and he's telling us to not answer so we don't answer," explained Kajalee.

The girls told KEPR they never saw Bulleck with a gun, they said they even checked his backpack. Bulleck’s brother confirmed to KEPR, Thomas doesn’t own a gun, but does own two realistic looking weapons – an air rifle and a BB gun. Ken Bulleck says Tom has a lot of issues, he’s getting confused and angry and it’s because he’s been an alcoholic for years. He said the alcohol abuse is finally taking its toll.

“He told me, he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” said Millard. She talked with him while he was in the back of the squad car, briefly before he was driven away.

Friday night was the 7 year anniversary of Bulleck’s father’s death. Ken says his brother isn’t coping. Police didn’t know the back story when they were called, all they knew was a man had two girls hostige, there was possibly a gun, and Tom had a New Jersey warrant for making threats.

“Anytime someone is armed with children, we take extra precaution to make sure the children are safe," said Taylor.

Everyone credits police for the safe ending, saying they made the right call. In situations like this, you never know. Whether Bulleck knew what was happening or not, Kajalee knew what to say to end it.

“They told Tom to come out with his hands up....I told him it's the right thing to do, you got to go out there in some point in time," she said.

Police said there were reports that Bulleck had been drinking Friday night. He is being held on charges related to the incident, including displaying a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Police say they found both pellet guns in his residence, not in the Millard’s.

Bulleck's brother, Ken told KEPR he's thankful Tom was arrested and he's hoping that he'll get help now that he's in jail.