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Ex-Girlfriend Of Gateway Three Hostage Taker Speaks Out

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined KDKA-TV in October 1988 as a General Assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Holding a man at knife-point for five hours is not the Klein Thaxton who Je’Nauba Lipford-Watts went to high school with and dated for several years.

“Klein has always been sweet, funny, outgoing, just a regular person,” she told KDKA-TV.

So you can imagine her surprise when she found out her presence was the only thing Thaxton wanted during the five hour standoff.

“I’m in shock. I can’t believe that I was the answer. I feel like I’m at fault for it,” she said.

At fault because she was working around her house and watching her two-year-old and didn’t realize the number of calls and messages she was missing until a police officer showed up on her doorstep to take her to the Wyndham to help encourage Thaxton to surrender.

“Tore me apart … because it was just like, ‘You really did this and you really thought I was ignoring you. Like, you put somebody else’s life in danger – not even my life in danger, but you put your own [life in danger]’ and he knew that.”

As she was going into the room to see Thaxton. the freed hostage, Charlie Breitsman was coming out.

“He was crying and it was just like his wife hugged him and it was just like, ‘I’m happy you’re out. I’m happy you’re safe. I’m happy you’re alive,’” she said. “I know they were probably thinking the worst.”

And she says her 15 minutes with a handcuffed Klein Thaxton were almost surreal.

“Once I got there it was like he was relieved going back to talking to me like we’re talking in a lunchroom cafeteria somewhere like you know what I mean? It was like, ‘Wow, I really can’t believe that.’”

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