Police say man holding ex-wife hostage in Connecticut home; bomb squad responds

Police: Man holding his ex hostage in Conn. home

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — An advertising executive kidnapped his ex-wife from a parking garage Tuesday, held her hostage for hours in a suburban Hartford home and fired shots as police negotiators and a bomb squad waited outside, authorities said.

Richard Shenkman, 60, missed a meeting with lawyer Hugh Keefe at Hartford Superior Court on Tuesday morning and was supposed to vacate the home later in the day, the attorney said.

“I hope it ends peacefully without any more violence,” Keefe said.

Police blocked off streets around 11 a.m. near the home on Tumblebrook Drive in South Windsor that the couple used to share. Nearly six hours later, the situation continued.

Police negotiators and the Hartford bomb squad were at the scene, and authorities said they were communicating with two people in the home. South Windsor police Cmdr. Matthew Reed said there was no confirmation of explosives in the house.

Shenkman was “irritated” by stories on the Hartford Courant’s Web site and demanded that the information be removed by 2:30 p.m., Reed said. A story naming Shenkman and ex-wife Nancy Tyler remained on the paper’s Web site after that time; a message was left by The Associated Press for interim Editor Naedine Hazell.

“The request has been that he does not want the publicity at this point. He does not want names out there or details of the incident,” Reed said.

Shenkman made other demands, said Reed, who would not elaborate.

Shenkman and Tyler, 57, have shared three years of contentious divorce proceedings, Keefe said. They married in 1993; a judge granted the divorce last year, but Shenkman has been appealing.

The state Appellate Court, in a decision officially released Tuesday, rejected Shenkman’s appeal. Shenkman had sought to delay the divorce proceedings until an arson case against him was resolved.

He is accused of burning down the couple’s beach home in East Lyme in 2007, hours before he was to hand it over to Tyler. The case is pending in New London Superior Court.

Shenkman also has other pending criminal charges, including threatening, violating a protective order and forgery, according to the state Judicial Branch.

Tyler’s lawyer, Norm Pattis, said Shenkman’s behavior during the divorce trial was “menacing, threatening, nothing short of bizarre.”

“The reports that he abducted Ms. Tyler … is consistent with the level of irrationality that he displayed throughout the proceedings,” Pattis said. “I hope the police will take prompt and decisive action to make sure no harm comes to Ms. Tyler.”

Tyler is a medical malpractice lawyer who at one point worked for Shenkman’s advertising firm in Bloomfield, according to divorce records. The firm produced “The Gayle King Show” and did commercials for state government, the records say.

“Welcome to the war of the Tylers,” Shenkman wrote in an e-mail to Pettis last year, according to court records. “Get ready for a wild and crazy ride on a runaway train. It’s about to derail.”

Pattis showed the e-mail to a judge and said it would be unfair “to have this court held hostage by a sociopath,” the court records say.

Shortly before the trial, the records how, Shenkman was hospitalized because his lawyer thought he might be a danger to himself.

Associated Press writers Dave Collins and Katie Nelson in Hartford contributed to this report.

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