Family, friends of woman held hostage at Gladstone Subway speak - KPTV - FOX 12

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Family, friends of woman held hostage at Gladstone Subway speak out

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Rachael Yarber, who is best friends with the woman who was held hostage at a Gladstone Subway Monday night. (KPTV) Rachael Yarber, who is best friends with the woman who was held hostage at a Gladstone Subway Monday night. (KPTV)
(KPTV) (KPTV)
GLADSTONE, OR (KPTV) -

It was a terrifying ordeal at a Gladstone Subway restaurant.

Monday night, an armed man shot a police officer and held a Subway employee hostage for nearly two hours before tactical teams were able to fire at the suspect and end the standoff.

The suspect, Jeffrey Giddings, 45, was taken to the hospital for treatment. Tuesday afternoon, he was released and taken to the Clackamas County Jail.

Police say he had an outstanding warrant from Klamath County and was riding a bicycle along McLoughlin Boulevard in Gladstone, when an officer tried to stop him.

Police say Giddings shot Gladstone Police Sgt. Lee Jundt, who was inside his patrol car.

Luckily, his bulletproof vest deflected the bullet and he survived.

Family and friends said the woman who was held hostage by Giddings is Liz Mincer, a 25-year-old woman who has worked at the restaurant for nearly five years.

Rachael Yarber is her best friend.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my God, my best friend is in there, she always works, so chances are she is there,’” Yarber said of learning about the standoff.

As Yarber rushed to the scene, she called Mincer’s younger brother, William.

“I’m close to her, very close,” Mincer said of his sister. “It was really scary and I was at work when it happened and I left just to be with her.”

Family members said Liz saw the chaos outside the store when the shots were fired that injured Sgt. Jundt, and she tried locking the door to the restaurant and went to hide.

But evidently, the door didn’t lock and Giddings came inside.

“I texted Liz and said, ‘Please be safe, I love you, don’t do anything stupid,’” Yarber recalled. “A few minutes later, Liz called me back. She was just being really short with me and really quiet, and all of a sudden the phone got taken and it was the guy who had her and he was just talking to me casually, like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Are you with the cops?’ and I was freaking out.”

The owner of the Baskin Robbins, which shares a wall with the Subway restaurant, said his employee was hiding in the freezer with customers while the standoff unfolded.

“They got cold enough that they left and went to the bathroom. They were in contact with 911 the whole time,” Steve Leitz said. “I was afraid for the hostage, we know her well, she’s really good friends with most of our employees, it was hard to take.” 

Family members say it finally ended when Mincer asked to use the bathroom. Giddings wouldn’t let her go in alone and lock the door, so he held the door partway open.

That’s when officers fired, injuring him.

In the light of day Tuesday, bullet holes were seen in the back wall of the Subway as investigators remained on scene to collect evidence.

A sign on the front door said the store is closed until further notice.

Now safely at home, Liz Mincer is too shaken to talk about her ordeal, but she gave this message to her brother:

“She just wants to say thank you to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s officers that rescued her and made her come home safe and sound,” William Mincer said. “And a big thank you to all her friends and family that are still supporting her now, through this difficult time.”

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