Man jailed following ‘hostage situation’ in Norfolk

Johnathan D. Harris (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Norfolk Police)
Johnathan D. Harris (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Norfolk Police)

NORFOLK — A 33-year-old man is facing serious charges following what police described as a hostage situation that started late Saturday and ended early Sunday.

Johnathan D. Harris was arrested following his surrender to police after negotiators were successful in talking him out of a home in the 1400 block of East Tanners Creek Drive around 1:30 a.m. Sunday

Harris is charged with four counts of abduction by force without justification. He being held in the Norfolk City Jail without bond, police said in a news release.

Detectives believe the incident stemmed from a domestic situation Saturday night.

After Harris was taken into custody, police found four people — three children and one adult — “inside the residence held against their will.”

All four were not injured.

The incident

Officers responded to a reported “suspicious situation” around 10 p.m. Saturday.

The caller told dispatchers Harris was inside the home and refusing to let his three children, ages 6, 7, and 9, and a woman, 54, leave, police said.

Officers were told Harris made threatening statements toward the children and the woman.

Police special operations team, bomb squad, and police negotiators responded and set a perimeter around the home. Shortly after 1 a.m. negotiators were able to contact Harris over the phone, police said.

After speaking with negotiators for more than 15 minutes, Harris surrendered.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.