A local Bushwick artist is facing charges of false imprisonment after allegedly holding seven people hostage at his art studio for nearly six hours Sunday night before police and emergency personnel arrived on the scene. The 36 year old suspect, Justin Sansby, had his paintings displayed on the walls of his studio on Knickerbocker Avenue and opened the door in celebration of the Bushwick Open Studios festivities, although his door wouldn’t remain open for long…
The victims were lured into Sansby’s studio on Sunday by a Facebook event page promising that free booze would be provided to its attendees. A group of friends along with a few curious passerbys went into the studio just after 7pm. After an agonizing ten full minutes had passed without even a single trace of alcohol in sight, people began to worry that they had been bamboozled. When the Burning Bush arrived, police were taking statements from the victims.
“We were getting ready to leave when we noticed that that the door had been closed,” Deandra Anderson recounted as she sipped hot cocoa on the sidewalk, wrapped in a blanket. “To our dismay, we went to go open it and discovered it to be bolted shut. He (Sansby) confiscated our phones, grabbed a gun from his bag and threatened to shoot us if we ‘tried anything funny.’ Being stuck in a room with shitty art for several hours dry of any proper substances made us seriously consider throwing ourselves out of the window. It was on the fifth floor, but anything seemed more pleasant than being forced to endure another moment of purgatory. We were plotting our escape when the cops busted the door in and rescued us. I had never felt more relieved.”
Luckily for Anderson and her friends, police were tipped off by somebody in the neighboring unit who said he heard people banging on the wall and crying for help. Justin Sansby is currently being held for psychiatric evaluation.
Written by Nicole Benson