Gunman dead, officer wounded in Georgia hostage situation

ATLANTA — A gunman who held four Georgia firefighters hostage on Wednesday in a suburban Atlanta home died and an officer was wounded after an exchange of gunfire as authorities moved in to free the captives, police said.

The firefighters, taken captive after responding to what appeared to be a medical call, suffered minor injuries from an explosive device that was used in their rescue, Gwinnett County police spokesman Edwin Ritter told a news conference.

The man, who police have not identified, apparently had been in financial troubles and demanded his power, cable television and cellphone service be restored, Ritter said.

“He wanted all those things turned back on,” Ritter said. “That’s why he was holding them hostage.”

The gunman had initially also held a fifth firefighter captive in the home in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta but let that person leave to move a firetruck, police and fire department officials said.

A SWAT unit entered the house after deciding the lives of the firefighters were in imminent danger, Ritter said.

During the rescue effort, the firefighters received superficial wounds and an officer sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the arm or hand, Ritter said.

The police spokesman could not immediately say whether the suspect died as a result of gunshots by law enforcement or a self-inflicted wound.


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