A group of 30 black & white photos, all approx. 9 x 7 in., several of which were used in New York Times and AP wire stories about the incident. The photojournalists identified include Ted Cunningham, Dan Neville, and Paul Hosefros. The photos include a handful stamped on verso with dates and other details regarding their use in news stories, three with captions from AP wire stories, and two with typed notes from the Queens Nassau Press, identifying the photographers. All are very good, clear.
This hostage story was front page news in the New York Times on June 12, 1974. The incident began in a low-income housing project in Queens, the South Jamaica Houses apartment building. A gunman named Floyd Steele, described as "an ex-convict with a history of mental illness," had taken a man, his wife and her five year old daughter hostage on June 10, 1974. The girl's mother succeeded in climbing out the window of the apartment to safety as the situation unfolded. She called police to the scene and the department's recently created hostage negotiation team began working to secure their release. Some thirty hours later, the child was pulled to safety by a New York City police lieutenant and the gunman was arrested.
The images include: Floyd Steele after his arrest (4); Cecil Mackey, a Housing Authority police officer (3, including one of him communicating with Steele via a bullhorn); Peggy Dalton Kinsler, the mother (3); Avril Letticia Kinsler, the five-year old (2); neighbors (3); police officers and police snipers on buildings nearby, and members of the negotiating team attempting to send a camera or listening device toward the window, etc. (14); Lt. Francis Bolz who succeeded in pulling the child to safety (1). The step-father Fred Kinsler was discovered to have been shot and killed by Steele, apparently before police arrived. Item #66180
The incident gained particular fame due to the use of the hostage negotiation team which had been created the year before within the New York Police Department. The commander of the department's special operations division at the time, Simon Eisdorfer, helped develop a specialized hostage negotiation team in the spring of 1973. Its purpose was to demonstrate "the effectiveness of protracted negotiation over armed confrontation." According to Eisdorfer's obituary in the New York Times in 2005, the team, considered the first of its kind, was conceived in the wake of the deaths of the eleven Israeli athletes who were taken hostage during the Munich Olympic games in 1972. The focus was on saving lives by talking to and waiting out the perpetrator. The formal guidelines for hostage negotiation, developed with the help of Harvey Schlossberg, a detective and clinical psychologist, became a model for other police departments around the country.