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Gunman holding firemen hostage killed; hostages OK

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a gunman holding four firefighters in suburban Atlanta has been shot dead by SWAT members and that all the hostages are slightly injured but should be OK.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said Wednesday evening that a SWAT officer has been shot in the hand.

Minutes before the police announcement, one big explosion followed by several smaller ones or gunshots were heard in the Suwanee neighborhood about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Police and fire officials say five firefighters responded to what seemed like a routine medical call in Suwanee and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house. They say one was let go to move the fire truck.

 

 
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SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) — A gunman barricaded himself in a home in suburban Atlanta and was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday afternoon, authorities in northeast Georgia said.

Five firefighters responded to a medical call in Suwanee and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house, Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said. The gunman released one of the firefighters from the house to move a fire truck.

The gunman's motive was unclear to police and fire officials, and a SWAT team and negotiator have made contact with the suspect Wednesday evening.

There was no indication that any of the firefighters had been hurt, said fire department Capt. Tommy Rutledge, adding the medical call seemed routine and firefighters did not believe there was any danger.

"Right now we just want our firefighters to be released. We want them to be able to go home safe to their families," Rutledge told WSB-TV.

Television helicopter footage showed police and fire trucks surrounding the neighborhood of mostly two-story homes and well-kept lawns about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. Residents were not being allowed in to their neighborhood.

Rutledge said one engine and one ambulance responded to the home. The firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians, said Rutledge, who would not speculate on whether there was a real emergency at the home.

"Our firefighters responded to a call they respond to hundreds of times, and that's a medical emergency," he said.

By JOHNNY CLARK and PHILLIP LUCAS, AP

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