[UPDATE BELOW] Police say a murder suspect is currently holding three hostages, two of them children, in an apartment on the fourth floor of a building of the Alfred E. Smith Houses at 40 Madison Street. According to officers at the scene, the suspect, 31-year-old Jimmy Siders, has barricaded himself in the apartment with two children, one male and one female, and a 50-year-old woman in a wheelchair. Officers are currently attempting to communicate with Siders from the hallway, and it is unclear if he is armed.
The woman being held in the apartment is believed to be Siders's mother.
Police say they attempted to execute a warrant at 8:45 a.m. this morning at the apartment to arrest Siders, who is wanted in connection with the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Pace University student Max Moreno. Two suspects have been charged in relation to Moreno's murder, and Siders is the third.
We'll update as more information becomes available.
[UPDATE // 12:36 P.M.] Police say the standoff is over, after the people barricaded in the apartment walked out of their own volition several moments ago.
An NYPD spokesman on the scene now says that Siders was never in the apartment. Dozens of NYPD officers and scores of vehicles responded to a hostage situation that never was.
The spokesman indicated that more than three Spanish-speaking people were in the apartment, but declined to elaborate on why police believed Siders was present.
When asked if interpreters were made available to the officers outside the apartment, and why it took nearly four hours for authorities to learn that the suspect wasn't there, the spokesman said, "We had whatever we needed. That's it."
This is bizarre.
We will update if we receive more information.
[UPDATE // 1:16 P.M.] A man named Arsenio B. says he lives in the apartment adjacent to the one police were attempting to gain entry to. "The people were saying that the guy wasn't there, they should have just opened the door," Arsenio said. "But maybe they had something to hide. The guy they were looking for is a drug dealer."
Arsenio, who declined to give his full last name because he skipped an appointment this morning, says four plainclothes officers showed up in front of Apartment 4E at around 6 a.m. Thirty minutes later, a cadre of officers in bulletproof vests arrived.
"They were being mad loud," Arsenio said, noting that his roommate yelled at the officers to quiet down. Minutes later their peephole was blocked with duct tape, and a device was attached to the foor doors in their corner of the hallway to monitor who was coming and going.
Around 9:30 a.m., residents of the building were told to leave. Officers came and drilled holes in Arsenio's closet to attempt to see into 4E. Arsenio said 4E's residents, who spoke English to officers, told police that the suspect, Jimmy Siders, wasn't in the apartment.
"All this is happening because they wouldn't let [the police] inside. But if he wasn't there, why not just let them in?"
An NYPD spokesman could not confirm how many people were in the apartment, but a Times reporter notes that there were five total, including a 17-year-old, but not the suspect. Arsenio told us that the woman in the apartment was not Siders' mother, but his grandmother.
With reporting by Marc Yearsley