PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A Pinellas Park woman is opening up about being a hostage in a SWAT situation involving her ex-boyfriend.
For nearly six hours Amber Carroll was a hostage inside her home. The man keeping her inside at gunpoint on March 2 was her ex-boyfriend, Lee Thrall.
“He wasn’t ok with the separation. He was dealing with a lot. We had separated. I was still trying to help him so that he had a hotel and when he didn’t, he had at least somewhere to eat and shower,” said Carroll.
The ordeal went on for hours with the SWAT team waiting outside and hostage negotiators trying to end the standoff. Not only was Amber inside, but so were two teens: a daughter and a friend.
“I was scared. I was more scared for the children in the house and my daughter than I was for myself. I just wanted the children out of the house,” Carroll said.
She said Thrall shot his gun inside the home but did not hurt anyone. She said he was troubled, but never expected him to do this.
“I asked him 'why are you doing this? Are you going to come out?' He said he was going to come out peacefully of course he didn’t tell me how peaceful he was in his mind,” she said.
Eventually, Thrall let the two teens go and then Carroll.
But authorities say the 37-year-old shot and killed himself before they ever got in the house. Now Amber lives with the trauma while at the same time trying to find a new place to live.
“I have nights where I have nightmares. I have nights when I can’t shut my brain off from thinking about it. The other night it was gunshots over and over again,” she said.
Carroll was driving for Uber and Lyft but now can’t deal with letting strangers in her car. She’s hoping for some financial help and started a GoFundMe page.
She also wants others to watch out for signs of depression and abnormal behavior involving people you are close to.
“Maybe if I would have watched a little bit closer, maybe I could have prevented it from happening,” she said.