Above the Call

CCWF employee delays hostage-taker until police arrive

Greg Williams stands in front of a flag.
Greg Williams works at Central California Women's Facility. He was recently involved in a stand-off with a hostage-taker.

By Lt. Gene Norman

While enjoying a morning at home with his family, Greg Williams soon found himself in a stand-off with a gun-wielding man.

On Dec. 10, the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) employee was watching cartoons with his granddaughter while helping his wife decorate for Christmas.

Stepping into his garage to retrieve a screwdriver, Williams heard a man calling for help. Making sure his wife and granddaughter were safe, he stepped outside to discover the calls for help was coming from his neighbor. The man said someone had broken into their home and had his wife at gunpoint in the backyard.

Williams quickly retrieved his gun from his safe and told the neighbor to call 911. Reaching the backyard, he saw a man holding his neighbor’s wife in a headlock, with a gun pointed at her. Only about seven feet separated Williams from the gunman. The hostage-taker raised his gun to aim at Williams.

Williams told him he was armed as well and tried to calm him down. Asking if the victim was OK, she responded that she was.

“She has two young children who are terrified and don’t want to see their mother hurt,” Williams told the man.

Williams kept the man talking until police arrived. The victim was released and the assailant was taken into custody.

While it seemed like forever, according to Williams, the entire incident was quickly over.

“That was the longest 15 minutes of my life that I hope I never have to repeat,” he said.