Man pleads guilty to holding 2-year-old hostage

Walter Ryan Moore


A Port Arthur man who held his niece hostage in an hours-long standoff with police has pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and assaulting police officers.

Walter Ryan Moore was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury Jan. 17 for aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault of a public servant, all first-degree felonies.

Moore’s trouble began in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in the 2500 block of 61st Street in Port Arthur when he barricaded himself inside the home with his 2-year-old niece.

Schools in the area, including Memorial 9th Grade Academy, were immediately evacuated and their students sent home when Moore told police he was heavily armed and ready for a confrontation with police.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, Moore told officers he had enough weapons to kill the multitude of officers and SWAT teams that responded that day. Moore went so far as to knock out a window and point a revolver at officers, stating he had at least one officer “in my scope” and would shoot the officers if they did not leave, all while threatening to kill the child and himself, according to the affidavit.

Moore also told police he had explosives in the home.

Negotiation teams were able to trade one of Moore’s weapons, a shotgun, for a cigarette, a fact Judge John Stevens was sure to point out in open court after Moore pleaded guilty to the offenses.

“You would use the child as a shield just to get cigarettes,” Judge Stevens said.

Moore was also able to secure chicken nuggets for him and his niece during the standoff.

By about 2:30 p.m., Moore allowed the 2-year-old to exit the home and at approximately 4:40 p.m., the standoff was over when Moore surrendered himself to police more than eight hours after the crisis had begun.

Moore pleaded guilty to the offenses Oct. 14 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday, Oct. 21.

A prosecutor familiar with the case said Moore may have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the standoff.

Moore seemed remorseful during his sentencing in Stevens’ Criminal District Court on Monday.

“The biggest tragedy would be if I took this event and didn’t grow from it,” Moore said.