DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — When Gabi Silver’s phone rang Thursday, she had no idea she’d be spending more than four hours helping negotiate with a barricaded gunman at a Dearborn hotel.
“At some point are you thinking I can’t believe this is happening? Repeatedly I thought it,” said Gabi Silver, attorney who negotiated with shooter.
In the midst of the tense stand-off with a barricaded gunman, Dearborn police say, the man shot and killed a clerk at the Hampton Inn on Michigan Avenue on Thursday.
Gabi Silver says she suddenly found herself being called upon to help.
She says she was familiar with a relative of the shooter which is why the gunman asked police to include her in negotiation by phone.
“I had told him in the beginning, I would stay on the phone with him until he walked out. I would just stay with him,” said Silver.
“He was upset and in lot of emotional distress. That’s what I felt.”
Silver, a defense attorney with 38 years of experience, says she was taking her dog to the vet, but quickly focused on building a rapport with the man by phone.
She assured him he and his family would not be harmed if he gave up without more violence.
She would also take the pressure off with some casual conversation during the times when he became distressed with the situation.
“He just wanted reassurance that he would be able to come out and not be shot,” Silver said.
7 Action News' Simon Shaykhet asked Silver if she felt the situation would end without violence?
"I don’t think I knew that or was sure of that until he was out,” Silver admitted.
According to an FBI report, active shooter incidents in the U.S. rose from 40 in 2020 to 61 in 2021, with deaths rising from 38 to 103.
A study by Wake Forest University shows 85-90% of hostage situations are typically resolved peacefully once rapport is established.
Silver tells us this is the first time she’s been called upon in this way. She gives a ton of credit to Dearborn Police for ending this standoff peacefully.