Fourteen-year-old Jill Crawford was eying the candy aisle in a convenience store with her younger brother when a gunman stormed in and yelled, "I want a hostage!"
A clerk stocking shelves at D Tee's Convenience Store ran out, leaving the children alone with the gunman Tuesday night.Jill's 10-year-old brother Sam was standing closest to the man, but she didn't want her little brother taken.
"So, I went forward," she said Wednesday.
Their father, Gary Crawford, then ran in to see the man with his arm around Jill's neck.
"He pointed the gun at me and said, `Get out of here,' " Crawford said. "I said, `Please don't harm these children.' My daughter said: `He said he wouldn't hurt us. Leave, Dad.' "
For the next two hours, he held the girl hostage along with another girl who was also in the Louisburg store in the southwest part of state.
Police say the gunman, 19-year-old Joseph Laudenbach, was fleeing the scene of a burglary. At one point, he sat down with Jill and 14-year-old Janice Huffman.
"He said, `They're (police) trying to get me for something I didn't do,' " Jill said.
Laudenbach was friendly, talked about where the girls went to school and didn't taunt or terrorize them, she said. Police called him on the telephone to negotiate. Finally, he agreed to come out.
"So, we just got up, put our hands up in the air" and walked out, Jill said. The gunman surrendered shortly thereafter.
Laudenbach was charged with kidnapping. He was jailed on $200,000 bond.
Crawford had stopped at the store to get gas on the way home to Leawood, a suburb of Kansas City, from a fishing and canoeing with his kids.
"Everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, and we're glad it's sort of a happy kind of fame instead of mourning the loss of our children," Crawford said.