Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers

Hero lieutenant tells of dramatic moment he ended hostage crisis at Salt Lake City library on ABC’s In an Instant

An actor playing Clifford Lynn Draper as he stands on a table pointing a gun at hostages
A recreation of Clifford Lynn Draper taking 18 people hostage at the Salt Lake City Public Library

A hero lieutenant recalls the dramatic moment he ended a six-hour hostage crisis at the Salt Lake City Public Library tonight on ABC’s 20/20: In An Instant.

Sheriff’s Lt. Lloyd Prescott snuck into the room where schizophrenic veteran Clifford Lynn Draper was holding members of the public on March 5, 1994, by pretending to be one of the hostages.

Draper told the group to draw straws to decide in which order they would be shot if his demands weren’t met.

He also had a homemade bomb which he placed on a table, telling the hostages it would blow up if he released a hand-held button.

Draper was demanding cash, gold and platinum bullion, money as payment for prior military service, and a full presidential pardon from President Bill Clinton.

Sheriff's Lt. Lloyd Prescott talking to the camera
Sheriff’s Lt. Lloyd Prescott, whose heroic actions kept damage to a minimum

Prescott, who was dressed in plain clothes, eventually made the call to shoot Draper after telling the others to get underneath the table on which the bomb rested.

He had calculated that the blast would not have penetrated the table, meaning the hostages would be saved.

However after he shot Draper five times the bomb failed to go off. It was later detonated by the city police department’s bomb squad.

None of the shrapnel it created penetrated the table, meaning Prescott had been right about taking the gamble. Draper was taken to hospital but was dead on arrival.

Tonight on ABC’s In An Instant actors recreate the dramatic incident, while Prescott talks about how he got into the room in a bid to minimise the potential damage.

Watch a recreation of the hostage crisis unfolding in the clip below…

20/20: In an Instant airs Saturdays at 9/8c on ABC. 

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as more

Leave a Comment
Comments - Have Your Say

Share your view