UPDATE: Georgia gunman killed, firefighter hostages freed

A 6-year-old boy who was shot in the head with a rifle Monday night has died. (File photo)

A gunman who took four Georgia firefighters hostage, demanding his utilities and cell phone service be restored, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with authorities who moved in to free the captives, police said.

A police officer was wounded and the firefighters, taken hostage after responding to what had appeared to be a medical call, suffered minor injuries during the rescue at a suburban Atlanta home, Gwinnett County police spokesman Edwin Ritter told a news conference.

Officials declined to give details about what happened inside the home, and Ritter could not immediately say whether the suspect died as a result of gunshots by law enforcement or a self-inflicted wound.

“This is the result of his actions,” Ritter said. “We didn’t want it this way but he was calling the shots, and this was the end result.”

The man, whom police have not identified, had apparently been in financial trouble and demanded his power, cable television and cell phone service be restored, Ritter said.

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

Property records show the home in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta, is owned by Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and a Freddie Mac spokesman confirmed to WSB-TV that the property was in foreclosure.

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 from an explosive device used to disorient the suspect, and an officer was shot in the arm or hand, Ritter said.

The wounded officer was in good condition late Wednesday, and the firefighters had all been released from Gwinnett Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Beth Okun said.

The firefighters, who are also trained as paramedics, went into the home to respond to what had been reported as a medical emergency, said Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department. Nothing about the initial call seemed unusual.

“This call took a different turn,” Rutledge said. “They were caught off-guard. They were caught by surprise.”

The hostage situation, which lasted several hours, drew dozens of police cars and fire engines to a well-groomed neighborhood of mostly two-story homes that neighbors described as safe and quiet.

Sounds of an explosion followed by a series of gunshots rattled the community as the stand-off came to an end.

“There was a giant explosion that shook my house,” neighbor Wesley Gossan told CNN. “Then there was a second what seemed like a smaller one and then there was several semi-automatic gunfire exchanges. And then it was done.

“Thirty seconds later I knew everything was OK because the guys walked out. They took the hard hats off and I just assumed everything was OK.”

The gunman had initially also held a fifth firefighter captive in the home but let that one leave to move a fire truck, police and fire department officials said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.