There's Facebook addiction, and then there's this. An armed Utah man who held a woman hostage in a Salt Lake City motel room surrounded by SWAT teams updated his Facebook page via a smartphone a half-dozen times during the 16-hour overnight drama.
[Also see: Facebook's most wanted]
The suspect, Jason Valdez, 36, turned a handgun on himself when police finally stormed the room. He survived the self-inflicted chest wound and was reported Tuesday to be in critical condition in an area hospital. But before the standoff ended, Valdez kept his Facebook followers apprised of his precarious situation. Here's his first status update, as reported by the Associated Press:
"I'm currently in a standoff ... kinda ugly, but ready for whatever. I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends."
That one came at 11:23 p.m. last Friday. Nearly three hours later, after a few more updates, Valdez posted two pictures of himself and his hostage, a woman named Veronica. Valdez claimed she was with him willingly. Of course, Facebook is all about two-way communication. Shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday, one of his friends alerted Valdez to the presence of a SWAT team member in the bushes near his room. Valdez replied, "Thank you homie. Good looking out." We all should have Facebook friends like that. Ninety minutes before officers finally broke into the room, Valdez made his final post at 7:25 a.m. Saturday. From the AP:
"Well i was lettin this girl go but these dumb bastards made an attempt to come in after i told them not to, so i popped off a couple more shots and now were startin all over again it seems ..."
That post, by the way, was "liked" by eight people. Presumably none were among the "dumb bastards." The whole thing started Friday when police attempted to serve Valdez with a warrant for a missed court appearance involving a drug felony charge. Maybe they should have just "poked" him. Some good came out of the ugly episode, though. Valdez gained at least a dozen new friends, according to the AP.