Fayetteville woman thanks law enforcement for saving her life

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Lt. Scott Carlton: "This is one of the greatest acts of police work I've seen in my 17 yrs."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It could have been a disaster: a home invasion turned hostage situation. But, Fayetteville police stepped-in and saved the woman’s life.

On Monday, July 13, she got a chance to say, “thank you!”

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED

A little after sunrise, Friday, July 3, a man shot his way into an elderly woman’s home on Sunrise Mountain Road, in Fayetteville. Police later identified the man as Joshua Watkins.

The woman told police he held a knife to her neck, demanded the keys to her car and to leave with him.

Police arrived as the two were walking to the car. That’s when Watkins barricaded himself into the home — with the woman.

Fayetteville Police Sergeant Tony Murphy said, “at that time, officers set up a perimeter, and we called in our Emergency Response Team and Crisis Negotiation Team.”

After hours of negotiations, Watkins let the woman go and surrendered.

Today (Monday, July 13) the family came face-to-face with those who saved her life. Wiping away tears and thanking each officer. Fayetteville Police Sergeant Bain Potter said, “reunions like this don’t happen every day.

It’s rare, was touching and motivating to hear the kind words from her.”

Fayetteville Police Lieutenant and SWAT Commander Scott Carlton said, “these are challenging times in law enforcement. So, for us to be able to come back down here today and spend a moment with these people is very important to the team.”

This incident highlights and showcases teamwork at its finest.

“This took so many people to get this done. Especially the specialists from the tactics guys, and also the negotiators who spent time talking with the suspect for several hours to ensure that this was a peaceful resolution,” said Carlton. “This is one of the greatest acts of police work I’ve seen in my 17 years.”

Joshua Watkins, Washington County Detention Center booking photo June 23, 2020. Charges for the homeless man include: Violation of suspended sentence; burglary/residential; Car theft 2x.

Joshua Watkins was released from the Washington County Detention Center a few days before all of this unfolded. Watkins is also suspected of two other home invasions on July 2 and 3 and because of the additional charges, he’s back in jail and held on a $50,000 bond.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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