DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - As snipers with the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office Special Operations Group put on their make up and the dive team gears up - they are setting the stage for a training exercise that will test their abilities.
"The idea is to pull all of these people together. Communication we found is the biggest key. If we are not communicating the operation isn't going to go too well," said Detective Jared Morton.
Morton explained the scenario has a suspect threatening to blow up the Bundicks Lake dam while holding two hostages at gunpoint.
"Best case scenario is if we do have a hostage involved like the information indicates is to get that hostage out safely. And the threat is to blow up the dam at Bundicks Spillway - so the best case scenario is we can prevent that from happening," said Morton.
As the scenario got underway divers begin their swim to land as snipers in the nearby woods sent back information to the command center as negotiations with the suspect got underway.
Morton makes contact with the suspect by phone.
Morton to Suspect:"Look... Slow things down okay, it's just you and me. Right now nothing has happened. I got information that you are wanting to do some bad things... Some stuff you are going to get into a lot of trouble for you understand."
Contact with the suspect only makes him agitated. According to snipers he begins to get frustrated.
Snipers to Morton:"Subject is constantly pacing around. Now having conversations with two females believed to be hostages and raising his voice."
Morton to Snipers:"Can you see any explosives or is it just the one firearm right now?"
Another attempt is made for the suspect's surrender.
Morton to Suspect:"You are still in control okay. You can decide right now the smart thing to do. I can get you out safely. That's what I can do without you getting hurt."
After more than an hour of failed negotiations the suspect begins firing gunshots at which point the snipers are given the green light to take him out.
Snipers to Morton:"Shots fired. Suspect is down. Head shot. The suspect is dead!"
The hostage is brought to safety and as said even though they were all playing roles - at times it seemed all too real.
"At first it was calm. Our suspect was really good. He made it seem real. Then when the SWAT came in it got intense. I didn't see them coming because they came from behind," said Toree Jones.
Despite the death of the suspect Morton said the exercise was a success.
"Overall it went well. Our main goal all the time is for everyone to go home at the end of the day... That didn't happen today. But we learned a lot and will take that away from the exercise," said Morton.
Morton also admitted they have a few kinks to work out before a larger training operation next week that will take place the same time and place at Bundicks Lake.