The calm around the Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort pool Thursday afternoon belied the tense overnight standoff between Blacktip Island police and a man who took hostage the resort’s manager. (photo by Wendy Beaufort /Blacktip Times Staff)
A dispute between two Blacktip Island residents turned ugly Thursday evening when a man took a resort manager hostage and refused to release her until questions about his bar tab had been resolved.
Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette identified the man as Dermott Bottoms and the hostage as Kay Valve, Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort’s manager.
“Mr. Bottoms was at the bar complaining he hadn’t been credited for paying last month’s bill,” Marquette said. “Mrs. Valve tried to reason with him, things escalated and Dermott barricaded them both in her office, demanding a month of free drinks and a helicopter ride off the island.
“We initiated hostage negotiations, but Dermott broke that off abruptly when we said ‘no’ to the helicopter,” Marquette said. “At this point we’re waiting him out.”
The passive response angered some close to the situation.
“Rafe yelled, ‘Dermott, you give yourself up,’ then Dermott yelled, ‘No,’ and Rafe yelled, ‘Well, all right, then,’” Kay Valve’s husband, Jay Valve, said. “That’s not a negotiation, that’s molly-coddling.
“Rafe needs to do something,” Valve said. “My wife’s locked in a room with a three-sheets-to-the-wind Dermott. No telling what’s going on in there.”
The constable stressed Kay Valve was not in any danger.
“Dermott’s harmless, essentially, unless you get physical with him,” Marquette said. “He does this kind of thing all the time. I could bust in there, sure, but someone’d get hurt unnecessarily. Probably me.
“Our current protocol is to set beer and a pack of cigarettes outside the door, get out of sight and wait for him to come out,” Marquette said. “When he does, we’ll pop him with a tranquilizer dart from across the lobby.”
The resort’s owner backed the plan.
“You got a cat up a tree, you set out a can of tuna and let nature take its course,” Sandy Bottoms said. “Same thing’ll work with Dermott. Not that he’s a cat. A cat’s much smarter.
“I phoned in to Dermott, told him there’s goodies outside the door,” Bottoms said. “He knows to behave himself. I talked to Kay, too, and she didn’t sound worried. Said she’d walk on out if Dermott passed out, which it looked like he was about to do.”
Bottoms added resolving the situation by voiding Dermott’s tab was not an option.
“It’s Dermott we’re talking about,” he said. “It’s not an insubstantial sum. Plus, we let him off once, we’ll be doing this every month.”
Bottoms would neither confirm nor deny accusations his resort routinely double-bills bar tabs.
The standoff was still ongoing at press time.