US hostage taker shot dead

2013-04-11 09:39
A police officer holds a rifle as he walks near the scene where a man is said to be holding four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage in Suwanee, Georgia. (John Bazemore, AP)

A police officer holds a rifle as he walks near the scene where a man is said to be holding four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage in Suwanee, Georgia. (John Bazemore, AP)

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Suwanee - Police shot dead a gunman who held four firefighters hostage for hours in a suburban Atlanta home, and all the hostages were slightly injured but should be all right, authorities said.

The gunman, who was not identified, had demanded that his power and cable be turned back on, said Gwinnett County Police Corporal Edwin Ritter. According to public records, the home is in foreclosure.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance. We did not want this to end this way," Ritter said. "But with the decisions this guy was making, this was his demise."

Five firefighters had responded on Wednesday afternoon to what seemed like a routine medical call. The gunman then released one firefighter to move a fire truck.

Police used an explosion to distract the gunman and rush into the home.

Soon after the blast, officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect and one was shot in the hand or arm, but should be fine, Ritter said.

Ritter would not saw how the gunman was fatally shot, saying it was being investigated.

"The explosion you heard was used to distract the suspect, to get into the house and take care of business," Ritter said in a news conference minutes after the resolution. He said the situation had gotten to the point where authorities believed the lives of the hostages were in "immediate danger".

The firefighters mainly suffered cuts and bruises in the explosion, said fire department Captain Tommy Rutledge.

Police had surrounded the home, and a hostage negotiator had been in contact with the suspect.

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