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.
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 firetruck 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.
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.
“The explosion you heard was used to distract the suspect, to get into the house and take care of business,” Ritter said after the resolution. He said the situation had gotten to the point where authorities believed the lives of the hostages were in “immediate danger.”