A day-long hostage-taking in Edmonton that started with hundreds of office workers fleeing a disgruntled gunman ended peacefully yesterday evening with no injuries.

About 10 hours after the drama at the Workers’ Compensation Board building began, Edmonton police spokesman Dean Parthenis announced the armed man had surrendered without incident.

Insp. Terry Rocchio said eight people in all had been held. He would not release the gunman’s name, but described him as a disgruntled client who wanted a chance to tell his story.

The incident began when the man, armed with a rifle, charged into the WCB offices on the eighth floor about 8:45 a.m. yesterday.

One witness, a WCB employee who didn’t want her name used, saw a Caucasian male with a suntan carrying a gun into the building at about 8:45 a.m.

“He motioned to all of us and said, ‘All these girls over here now,’” she said. “We didn’t, we just dropped down and crawled out to the back hallway, which was secure.”

The witness said she heard a loud bang shortly after the gunman entered the building.

The hostage-taker lives in an assisted-living facility. Friend Don Bellerose said the man had sent a text message to one of the nurses at the facility saying he was going to settle a score with the WCB.

The gunman was working in the concrete industry when he was injured on the job, Bellerose said. He was cut off benefits.
with files from the canadian press