Police: Judge fatally shoots self after holding family hostage in SW Miami-Dade

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (AP/WSVN) – Authorities have confirmed a Social Security judge shot and killed himself after an hours-long standoff with police at a Southwest Miami-Dade home.

Police said 51-year-old Timothy Maher, a disability judge at a downtown Miami Social Security Administration office, held three hostages for about 10 hours Friday inside the home.

According to Miami-Dade Police, at around 11 p.m. Thursday, they received several text messages from a third party source who noted that a family was being held against their will inside a home near Southwest 240th Street and 113th Passage.

Police said a man had barricaded himself inside the home and took his family hostage.

“Once uniformed officers arrived to the scene, they attempted to make contact with the persons inside of the home and there was no answer,” said MDPD spokesperson Chris Thomas.

Police did not officially confirm the dead man was Maher until later Friday afternoon.

Earlier, however, they were heard calling the the man inside “Tim” and referred to him as “Your Honor” over a megaphone.

Negotiators were also heard making a reference to a similar standoff with Maher at his home in El Portal.

“You have my assurance we are not going to hurt you,” a negotiator said. “We did not hurt you the last time we dealt with each other in El Portal.”

Maher was involved in three standoffs inside his home in El Portal about a week ago. In one of those nights, Maher was arrested after he allegedly threatened his girlfriend with a gun.

In court, Maher told a judge that the allegations were fictitious.

Neighbor Jeronimo Diaz noted that the man inside wanted to hurt his family and knew about his previous arrest.

“About a week ago, he got arrested, or two weeks ago, and then he came out of jail,” said Diaz. “He said that he was gonna hurt her family.”

During negotiations, a large perimeter was set up in the area and Special Response Team officers were called to the scene.

Several neighbors were also evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution.

Throughout the morning, hostage negotiators could be seen trying to communicate with the people inside the home. One of the hostages was a 13-year-old girl. At one point, officials were heard through a loud speaker asking for a light to be turned on and off to signal if they were OK.

“Tim, I know you’re scared,” a negotiator said. “I know you’re going through a lot.”

Authorities said a teenager inside the home along with hostage negotiators tried to get the man to surrender for hours. That teen was in contact with officials at one point. “[Hostage negotiators] were receiving messages via text just saying, ‘Help. We need help,'” said Thomas.

Approximately an hour after lines of communication ceased, officials said a gunshot was heard. “At that point, the Special Response Team made entry into the home,” said Thomas.

Once inside, officers found a male with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Three individuals, said to be family of the deceased man exited the home unharmed. “Before the team made entry, the three hostages came out,” said Thomas. “Once they heard the gunshot, they left the residence.”

According to public records, Maher’s hostages are related to the woman he’s accused of assaulting.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said she was up all night worrying about the little girl held hostage in the house.

“They had the whole house surrounded,” she said. “It’s just things like this are unfortunate because the 13-year-old that was living there, my kids have played with her plenty of times. It’s unfortunate because now that little girl is going to be traumatized.”

Police said none of the hostages were hurt.

Family and friends could be seen leaving the home, Friday evening, where Maher held the hostages.

Relatives told 7News they will be staying with family members, asking for privacy as they cope with the traumatic events.

Homicide investigators will now be taking over the investigation.

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