Pinellas Park woman held hostage by ex-boyfriend after breakup
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A Pinellas Park woman is speaking out about being held hostage in a SWAT situation involving her ex-boyfriend.
For nearly six hours, Amber Carroll was held hostage in her home. The man keeping her inside at gunpoint on March 2 was her ex-boyfriend, Lee Thrall.
“He did not agree with the separation. He dealt a lot. We had separated. I was always trying to help him so he had a hotel and when he didn’t have one he at least had a place to eat and shower,” Carroll said.
The ordeal lasted for hours with the SWAT team waiting outside and hostage negotiators trying to break the standoff. Not only was Amber inside, but also two teenagers: a daughter and a friend.
“I was scared. I was more scared for the kids in the house and my daughter than for myself. I just wanted the kids out of the house,” Carroll said.
She said Thrall fired his gun inside the house but did not hurt anyone. She said he was confused, but didn’t expect him to do this.
“I asked him ‘why are you doing this? Are you going out? He said he was going out peacefully, of course he didn’t tell me how peaceful he was in his mind,’ he said. she declared.
Eventually, Thrall let the two teenagers go, and then Carroll.
But authorities say the 37-year-old shot and killed himself before he even entered the house. Now Amber lives with the trauma while trying to find a new place to live.
“I have nights where I have nightmares. I have nights where I can’t stop my brain from thinking about it. The other night there was gunfire over and over again,” he said. she declared.
Carroll used to drive for Uber and Lyft, but can no longer afford to let strangers in his car. She is hoping for financial help and has launched a GoFundMe page.
She also wants others to watch for signs of depression and abnormal behavior involving close people.
“Maybe if I had looked a little closer I might have been able to prevent this from happening,” she said.