FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A man who took a hostage at a Florence-area hotel Friday morning surrendered peacefully to authorities and is being taken to a nearby hospital for a mental evaluation, an official confirmed.
The Florence County Sheriff's Office was on the scene where a suspect, identified by authorities as Mark Travis Jenkins, took a hostage at the Travelhouse Inn on West Lucas Street in the Florence area. The hostage told police Jenkins did have what appeared to be a gun, but FCSO Chief Deputy Glen Kirby later confirmed that Jenkins had "some type of tool with a saw blade attached to it."
Kirby said warrants are signed for kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Authorities are waiting for Jenkins to be released from the hospital.
The Florence County Sheriff's Office had negotiators on scene who were able to negotiate Jenkins' surrender, Kirby said. Jenkins reportedly took a man hostage, but later released the man and surrendered to police. A condition of his surrender was that he was to be taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, Kirby said.
Jenkins was apparently looking for drugs, and asked the sheriff's office to provide them to him, Kirby said. The sheriff's office refused to provide the drugs, and instead struck a deal for Jenkins to go to the hospital for mental help, Kirby said.
"That's what he wanted - he wanted help," Kirby added.
Authorities completely evacuated the hotel, except for the male suspect and the male hostage, according to Kirby. Negotiators spoke on the phone talked to the Jenkins to get him to cooperate.
WMBF News Reporter Nia Watson was on scene and observed a helicopter flying overhead. Multiple law enforcement officers were on scene with guns drawn towards the hotel during the incident.