Police and emergency vehicles are staged at Caesars Palace hotel-casino Tuesday, July 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. A man has taken a woman hostage inside the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas police said Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

It was a sunny Tuesday morning on the Las Vegas Strip, and tourists were enjoying the pool at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino when they heard a loud bang and saw furniture, cushions, a coffee maker, and glass crashing down from a 21st-floor window of the iconic Palace Tower. A man had barricaded himself in a room with a woman he was believed to be holding hostage. Panic spread like wildfire, and it felt like something out of an action movie for a brief moment.

The Las Vegas police responded quickly, and SWAT officers secured the hallway outside the room. Las Vegas police Capt. Stephen Connell told reporters that the standoff began about 9:15 a.m. with a report from hotel security that a man and woman were arguing and that a man pulled a woman into a room “by force.”

For hours, the man refused to come out of the room or let the woman go. Police negotiators tried to talk to him, but he was unresponsive. Meanwhile, guests at the hotel were evacuated from the pool area and their rooms on the 21st floor, where the Caesars Palace hostage situation was centered.

Some guests described the scene as chaotic and scary. They said they heard glass breaking and saw furniture and other objects thrown out the window.

“It looked like sparkles,” said Emma Snyder, a tourist from Appleton, Wisconsin. “People were just staring up and looking.” 

Beverly Blackwell, visiting from Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband Chris, recounted how they heard glass shatter and curtains fluttering in the wind. It was a strange and scary experience for everyone present.

John Marshall, an Associated Press writer on vacation with his family, described the surreal scene from his room on the fifth floor of the Palace Tower. “It looks like he’s pretty much emptied the room of furniture,” he noted. “Seat cushions, a chair, and other items hit a ledge outside the window of his room, and some fell to the pool area after it had been evacuated.”

Despite the chaos, the safety of the guests remained a top priority. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the pool area, and guests were eventually allowed to return to their rooms. While the 21st floor remained tense, life in the rest of the resort carried on as usual. “In the casino, it’s business as usual,” Marshall observed. Hotel security officers and police were visible, but other guests were not evacuated or restricted from moving about.

After several hours, the standoff finally came to an end. The man was arrested, and the woman was released unharmed. Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said there were no immediate reports of injuries to anyone in the pool area.

It was a day that began with fear and ended with a sense of relief. The Las Vegas Strip, known for its entertainment and excitement, briefly became a backdrop for a different drama. Yet, as the sun set on Caesars Palace that evening, the city and its iconic resort showed resilience in the face of unexpected challenges, proving once again that Las Vegas is a place where anything can happen.

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