Hostage Situation at Argosy Casino in Riverside Ends without Harm

Argosy Casino Hostage Situation

Bobby Jo Dennison later denied having taken a hostage, despite being caught in the hotel room after a 9-hour standoff.

A Kansas City man threatened to cut a woman’s throat during a hostage situation at the Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa on Thursday night. The standoff lasted for nine hours, but eventually was resolved without physical harm to the woman.

Police are holding Bobby Jo Dennison, a 44-year old man who led police on a chase in two states on Thursday. When authorities tracked him to the Argosy Hotel and confronted him in Room 826, Dennison told police, “I have a hostage.”

Dennison claimed he had a knife to the throat of his victim and would not hesitate to use it. He also claimed he possessed a gun, so police stopped trying to force the hotel door.

With officers of the Riverside Police Department at bay for the time being, Dennison demanded he be supplied a vehicle to escape. He claimed the woman was “his ticket out of the standoff”, according to police records.

Bobby Jo Dennison’s Weapons

Dennison had in his position two box knives and a folding knife. Though it was determined the hostage taker did not have a firearm, he threatened to shoot police with a handgun at one point during the standoff. During negotiations, Bobby Jo Dennison said he and the woman would exit “under a blanket, tied together with knives and razor blades.”

Car Chase and Hostage Situation

The events leading to the hostage situation began at the Kansas City International Airport. Dennison had a rental vehicle which was overdue for return to the airport. When Riverside police spotted the vehicle in the parking lot, they gave pursuit, which ended when the vehicle crossed into Kansas.

Police later received a tip that one of the passengers in the car had been seen going into the Argosy Casino Hotel, which is located in Missouri. (Dennison had an accomplice, who allegedly drove the rental car into Kansas.) When police called the Argosy Hotel, the resort’s staff told police they had surveillance footage of Dennison going into room 826.

Police converged on the Argosy Hotel. By that time, police had done a Dennison’s background check on and found Bobby Jo Dennison had 2 felony warrants for possession of a controlled substance in Wyandotte County. He also had warrants in Kansas City for theft and resisting arrest.

Standoff at Room 826

At around 4:30pm on Thursday afternoon, law enforcement approached Room 826. When police knocked on the door, a woman escaped from the room. Bobby Jo Dennison announced he had a second woman held hostage inside the room, so the standoff began.

In all, the hostage situation lasted about 9 hours. At a point, police overheard the hostage said, “I am done, open the door and let them in. Let me go.”

SWAT Team Rushed Dennison

Nearing 1:30am early Friday morning, SWAT team members from multiple law enforcement agencies forced the door and took the Dennison and his hostage into custody. Presumably, authorities had determined Dennison was armed with knives instead of guns, perhaps due to his hostage’s exclamation. Officers of the Riverside Police Department made the arrest, though they were assisted by the police officers from North Kansas City, Gladstone, and Liberty.

The hostage’s name has not been revealed. Police say she may have injured her hand during the hostage situation, but otherwise was not harmed. After Bobby Jo Dennison was arrested, detained in Platte County Jail, and a judge set his bond at $50,000.

Dennison is faces charges of resisting arrest, second-degree kidnapping, and second-degree tampering with a motor vehicle. The first count could bring the alleged criminal 4 years in prison, while the second and third counts could bring the man 7 years in prison, if convicted. Given the number of witnesses, a conviction is likely.

Hostage Taker Denies Wrongdoing

Court records show that, during his arraignment, Bobby Jo Dennison denied ever having held the woman in the Argosy Hotel, or threatening to harm the woman or law enforcement officials. Such denials would indicate that Bobby Jo Dennison might have schizophrenia, dissasociative disorder, or some other kind of psychological condition.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Blake Sherer was assigned the case as prosecutor.