BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Police said 36-year-old Calvin Smith, of Hamburg, died Thursday afternoon in downtown Buffalo. Police said he held three people hostage and then killed himself at the Metro Loan Pawn Shop. The hostages were all safe after the standoff that lasted four hours.
News 4 learned at least one hostage did not feel like he was in danger after about 15 minutes, because Smith told them he didn’t want to hurt them. Smith was reportedly skittish every time the phone rang. News 4 learned there was a radio inside the store, so the hostages and the distraught man heard everything happening outside.
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News 4 learned the suspect broke up with his girlfriend last Friday. She called Hamburg Police knowing Smith was upset. Police reached him by phone in the Metro Loan Pawn Shop on Broadway.
Police say the Smith walked into the pawn shop and asked to see a shotgun. When the clerk showed him one, he took a shotgun shell from his pocket and loaded that gun threatening to kill himself. The gunman apparently never threatened to hurt the others inside, only himself.
Two employees were safe behind bullet proof glass, but one male employee was on the showroom floor with the gunman for four hours. The standoff ended when Smith killed himself.
Police were talking to the gunman inside, and say they train for situations like this one.
Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo said, “We set up a perimeter, a containment area for public safety so that nobody endangers themselves or other officers.”
“Our tactical units train for every conceivable situation that they can encounter,” Rinaldo explained.
The pawn shop has been in the Schmid family for over 70 years. One of the hostages inside was Cameron Schmid, the grandson of the founder.