Man stages 7-hour hostage drama

Suspect held knife to neck of his wife, refused to release 2 children

A 27-year-old man held a kitchen knife to the neck of his wife, threatened to kill her if police wouldn’t leave, and refused to release his two children during a seven-hour hostage drama at their residence in Afetnas, police said yesterday.

The standoff began on Saturday at 10:42pm and ended yesterday at 5:47am when the Department of Public Safety’s Special Enforcement and Action Section stormed the house and arrested the suspect, Gordon A. Castro.

SEAS officers safely secured Castro’s wife and their two children, a 9-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

Acting DPS spokesman Jason Tarkong said that police officers responded to Afetnas after receiving a call about the hostage taking on Saturday at 10:42pm. Tarkong said that Castro was inside the house and was pointing a knife to the neck of his 26-year-old wife.

Castro allegedly threatened that he would kill his wife if police would not leave the area. The suspect also refused to release his two children. Witnesses said that Castro kept threatening police that he will harm his family and himself if they did not leave him alone.

Castro’s behavior was violent and erratic, prompting the officers to pull back and call for backup. DPS Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation detectives, SEAS officers, assistant attorney general Barbara Cepeda, and DPS legal counsel John Cook also responded to the scene.

During the standoff, police identified two officers who knew Castro personally and they utilized these two officers to talk to him. The strategy worked, Tarkong said, as the officers managed to calm down Castro, who became more receptive to negotiations.

SEAS officers then jumped in and arrested Castro.

The report did not mention the reason behind the hostage-taking.

Last July, a three-hour drama occurred on the third floor of Feng Hua Store in San Jose when Alfred Jacob Teregeyo allegedly grabbed two machetes from the store, threatened to kill his wife, then barricaded himself before surrendering to police. The case is pending in Superior Court.

In July 2013, former archaeologist Herman C. Tudela Jr. staged a seven-hour standoff with authorities and threatened to kill two women. The standoff ended when members of DPS Tactical Response Enforcement Team swooped into the house and arrested Tudela and rescued his 10-year-old son. In June 2014, Tudela pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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