SOUTH WINDSOR—A SWAT team surrounded the home, neighbors were evacuated and streets cordoned off as hostage negotiators began talking with the man. A black armored vehicle and the Hartford bomb squad arrived at the scene shortly afterward.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Hartford police, as a precaution, briefly evacuated CityPlace - where the light blue Chrysler minivan remained - and the nearby Goodwin Square Office Tower.
"These are not the actions of a rational person. We were not willing to take a chance," Dryfe said. No explosives were found.
Shenkman had run a Bloomfield-based advertising agency with Tyler while they were married, but the business has been inactive for several years, Keefe said.
In addition to speaking with police negotiators, Shenkman telephoned the New London Day four times during the standoff and spoke to reporter Karen Florin.
Although Shenkman said at one point he wanted "Nancy to walk out of here," he also said he was willing to kill her and die himself, particularly if police were aggressive.
"I think they're going to get frustrated soon and they're going to push me," he told Florin, The Day's court reporter. "I believe this is going to end in violence, not that I want it to."
Shenkman allowed Tyler to speak freely with Florin during three of the calls.
"I don't want either of us to be hurt," Tyler said. "I want both of us to come through this and move on. There's nothing here that can't be undone," she said, The Day reported.
Day Managing Editor Timothy J. Cotter said Florin had covered Shenkman's previous legal troubles, including the couple's divorce, and had interviewed him on several occasions. South Windsor police were aware Shenkman was calling The Day but offered no objections or direction on how to handle the calls, Cotter said.
Although police reported early in the standoff they had heard shots from within the house, Shenkman told The Day he had not fired any rounds. He said the house was rigged with 30 video cameras, motion detectors and explosives.
Shenkman made numerous demands of police, including that media organizations, among them The Courant, not cover the standoff as it developed.
News executives at The Courant declined to remove coverage from its website. At a 3 p.m. press conference, Reed said the continued coverage by The Courant was complicating negotiations.
Courant interim Editor Naedine Hazell said police called the paper and said Shenkman was demanding the coverage be stopped or he would blow up the house at 2:30 p.m. She said the paper got the call a few minutes before 2:30 p.m., the story had already been widely reported for more than three hours and it was not technically possible to remove stories from courant.com that quickly.
Editors then discussed the demand and decided complying could set a precedent for future hostage situations.
"It was difficult to assess Shenkman's demand given his history. Also, there was no context to the demand, including when it had been made, whether it was part of a lengthy list of demands - which turned out to be the case - and whether it was considered credible," Hazell said in a statement. "Within 90 minutes of the threat, we learned from sources that removing the reports from websites had ceased to be a critical concern."
News organizations around the state had different responses to Shenkman's demand.
In his first phone call to The Day shortly before 1 p.m., Shenkman said he would kill Tyler if the paper posted a story on its website. The paper initially held the story but told Shenkman in a conversation at about 2:45 p.m. it was reconsidering.
The paper posted a story a short time later, Cotter said, because it was being widely covered.
According to The Day, Shenkman also wanted a priest to give Tyler her last rights, a copy of their wedding certificate, a judge to remarry them and a copy of the SWAT team procedure manual.
The most recent development in Shenkman and Tyler's acrimonious relationship came in April, he was charged with forging Tyler's signature on life insurance documents, police said.
Shenkman took out a $9,000 loan against his wife's policy, police said. He turned himself in on an arrest warrant charging him with a single count of second-degree forgery.
Tyler told police in November she had received a letter from Nationwide Insurance claiming that she owed the company $9,000 on a loan against her policy. Tyler brought copies of documents she believed had been forged by her husband.
"She had copies of the documents and said it was obvious it was not her signature," police spokesman Sgt. Scott Custer said.
Investigators confirmed through Nationwide Insurance that the documents giving Shenkman control of Tyler's policy had a forged signature, police said. Shenkman told police there was an agreement between the couple's attorneys giving Shenkman control over the policy, but he did not provide proof, Custer said.
Staff writers Jesse Leavenworth and Hilda Munoz contributed to this story.