NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new documentary film, “Hold Your Fire,” tells the story of a hostage siege in Brooklyn in 1973, when four young Muslim men walked into a sporting goods store attempting to steal guns.
It soon turned into the longest hostage siege in NYPD history, after a psychologist from the police department came on the scene, determined to talk the men out and avert a blood bath; 47 hours later the young men came out. The first hostage negotiation team was born.
Shu’aib Raheem was one of the four young men holed up inside the sporting goods store after a robbery gone very wrong. He claimed they wanted to get guns for self-defense after a massacre against Muslims the night before in Washington D.C.
At a screening in Brooklyn Monday night, presented by Rooftop Films, he said he’s here to tell this story by the grace of Allah and that it is especially important to be doing it in the Brooklyn community where it happened.
The documentary film is directed and produced by Stefan Forbes. He said the film is not just a thriller, but it’s also about the birthplace of hostage negotiation, and an epic New York story.
Five hundred cops surrounded the store and after three hours of shooting, NYPD psychologist Harvey Schlossberg began talking to the young men who were holding 11 hostages.
Schlossberg didn’t look like a cop; he didn’t act like a cop, but he had his Ph.D. in psychology. He believed in talking and that you can influence people without bullying them.
Jack Cambria, a hostage negotiator with the NYPD for 14 years, is now using parts of the film for teaching. He says this film is significant on many different levels.
This hostage situation was the last of four incidents around that time that led to the first hostage negotiation team in the entire world. People realized that there was a way of using words before tactical force was necessary.
Forbes said being able to tell Raheem’s story about his incredible journey is something that affects all of us. Raheem said there is a message about ways of resolving conflict through conversation and talk rather than through violence.
The siege ended after 47 hours with the words “Hold your fire, hold your fire.”
In the end, Officer Steven Gilroy was killed, and two other officers were wounded. It is still not clear who fired that fatal shot, according to witnesses. All four young men were prosecuted on multiple counts.
Raheem was released from prison in 2010 on parole after serving 35 years. He is now a trauma support consultant and founder of the Jawala Scouts leadership training program.
“Hold Your Fire” from IFC films is set to be released on May 20.