The man who took five firefighters hostage in his foreclosed-upon Georgia home has been killed by police. With one hostage released earlier in the ordeal, the remaining four are safe with minor wounds sustained in the SWAT team operation to free them.
The gunman, who has barricaded the house, now faces a SWAT team trying to free the Gwinnett County firefighters. Authorities told local media that the fire department was at the residence in response to a medical call.
Law enforcement officials have requested that all media helicopters keep away from the area, purportedly for safety reasons, according to local reporter Amy Napier Viteri.
Before the news helicopters were forced to move away, video footage showed dozens of police and fire trucks surrounding the neighborhood. Ambulances have also been deployed to the area. Gwinnett County’s district attorney has also arrived to the scene.
One firefighter was allowed to exit the house in order to move the fire truck, though four remain in side.
Authorities have asked media again to “not cover anything” around the scene, as they are not sure whether the hostage-taker has access to news. “Several negotiators” are on the scene trying to get the remaining four firefighters out of the house, one local official told reporters.
One area resident told local media that snipers and a bomb squad are also at the scene “just to be safe.” Police have reportedly lined the whole neighborhood and are not letting anyone into their houses.
Fire department Captain Tommy Rutledge said the call the firefighters were responding to seemed routine, a kind “they respond to hundreds of times.” Rutledge refused to speculate on whether there was a real emergency at the home.
Public records show that the house where the firefighters were being held is in foreclosure and has been bank-owned since November of 2012.