Hostage-taker killed by police; firefighters hurt but alive

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:43 PM
Last updated 10:14 PM
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SUWANEE, Ga. — A gunman who was having financial problems held four firefighters for hours in a suburban Atlanta home, demanding his cable and power be turned back on, before being shot dead when SWAT members stormed the house, authorities said Wednesday. The hostages had cuts and bruises from explosions officers set off to distract the gunman before moving in, but they will be fine, a fire official said.

An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostages suffered serious injuries.   JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostages suffered serious injuries.

Minutes before the police announcement on the resolution, a huge blast could be heard a quarter-mile away from the home, shuddering through the Suwanee neighborhood, setting off car alarms.

Earlier Wednesday, five firefighters responded to what seemed like a routine medical call and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house, police said. The gunman released one of the firefighters to move a fire truck but held the other four.

Dozens of police and rescue vehicles surrounded the home and a negotiator was keeping in touch with the gunman, police said. The situation remained tense until the blast rocked the neighborhood of mostly two-story homes and well-kept lawns. Residents unable to get into their neighborhood because of the police cordon flinched and recoiled as the enormous blast went off.

Soon after the stun blast, officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect and a SWAT member was shot in the hand or arm, but should be fine, said Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter. 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 gunman, who has not been identified, demanded several utilities be restored, Ritter said. According to public records, the home is in foreclosure and has been bank-owned since mid-November.

“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.”

Firefighters were able to use their radios to let the dispatch center know what was going on, said Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said, and Ritter said officials decided to “get control of the situation” and do it swiftly.

Rutledge said the medical call seemed routine and firefighters did not believe there was any danger. One engine and one ambulance responded. Ritter said authorities didn’t yet know if the suspect may have faked a heart attack or some other problem to bring the firefighters to his home.

“Our firefighters responded to a call they respond to hundreds of times, and that’s a medical emergency,” Rutledge said.

Two ambulances could be seen leaving after the gunfire ended.

Asked what kind of weapon or weapons the suspect had, Ritter said he didn’t immediately know. He said investigators were in the house where the suspect’s body remained.

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seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 04/10/13 - 07:57 pm
6
0
Gunman is dead

745pm...Gunman is dead....shootout at house...but firemen are ok...it is over now....4 miles from my house..

AutumnLeaves
7772
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/10/13 - 08:08 pm
2
0
seenitB4

Gosh, seenitB4, I have relatives near there, too, people I care about very much. I was praying for the safety of the community as well as the firefighters. Glad it is over for everyone's sake and that the firefighters will be okay.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 04/10/13 - 08:31 pm
3
0
Very touchy situation AL

It could have been an ugly ending..I am so proud of our police & firemen.....they are great & they kept the neighbors safe too......we go by this area all the time...Collins Hill park is less than a mile away....we walk in park at times...beautiful park & homes in this part of Collins Hill....

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/10/13 - 08:59 pm
0
0
Amazing!
Unpublished

25 miles east of me.

nocnoc
42692
Points
nocnoc 04/11/13 - 05:16 am
3
0
Injuried by the police

WOW!.

But the point is they are live and the problem has been neutralized.

Maybe SUWANEE SWAT needs to get some Flash Bangs, which are better suited for such distractions?

SeenItb$ can fill in the gaps but.
On a lighter side.
about 6 years ago, Gwinnett Co. Police and Duluth Police surrounded a suspected drug house and proceeded to fire 240+ rounds through both sides of the house and at each other, in Keystone fashion.
Never hitting the suspects, but wounding at least 2 officers.

It was later determined the suspects did not have any guns and the drug charges were quietly dropped also.

KSL
129903
Points
KSL 04/11/13 - 05:18 am
1
0
seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 04/11/13 - 05:51 am
3
0
Sometimes the media has to step back..

Police sent out a message to all media about a half-hour before storming the house, asking them not to broadcast aerial shots of the home until the standoff was resolved.

“This is a very touchy situation, anything could happen at this point, so we’ve got to try and keep him calm,” Ritter said during a press briefing earlier in the evening.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 04/11/13 - 06:04 am
3
0
Many young kids in this area

What made this even more dangerous is the location of 2 schools within a block of this house.... the man had already stormed out at a neighbor on his motorbike just hours before this happened......many kids in the neighborhood were at activities just across the street......thank goodness the police handled this ordeal & we didn't lose any innocent bystander....

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 04/11/13 - 07:25 am
2
0
Incident in Duluth

nocnoc I don't remember that incident but right now I couldn't even tease them about anything...I am just grateful & just want to thank them.....in most happenings around here they have done an excellent job......we had them come out & give the homeowners some advice a few years ago..& guess what...they said a dog in the yard is a big deterrent to thugs....

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:07 am
0
0
Glad He's Dead
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:08 am
0
0
Glad He's Dead
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:08 am
0
0
Glad He's Dead
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:09 am
1
0
Glad He's Dead
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:10 am
0
0
Glad He's Dead
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:13 am
0
0
Saved Time and Money
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/11/13 - 08:20 am
0
0
Saved Time and Money
Unpublished

Good Job Gwinnett SWAT. Used to work for the County, many years ago. Saves us a bunch of time and money. I have no use for people like this. Thankfully, all the rest will recover. Prayers to you all.

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