Gunman who held four firefighters hostage in Georgia is shot DEAD after SWAT team ends stand off with explosion
A gunman who allegedly lured five firefighters to his northwest Georgia home and held four of them hostage for hours this afternoon has been shot dead.
Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said the man had barricaded himself inside the house in Suwanee with the firefighters who responded to a fake medical call at around 3:40 p.m.
At about 7:30 p.m authorities set off an explosion to distract the suspect before a SWAT team rushed the house, shooting the gunman dead.
The firefighters mainly suffered cuts and bruises in the explosion and would be able to go home to their families tonight, said fire department Capt. Tommy Rutledge.
Operation: At about 7:30 p.m an explosion shook the area and a SWAT team entered the home, shooting dead the suspect
All over: A group of people huddle together after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage
'The explosion you heard was used to distract the suspect, to get into the house and take care of business,' Ritter said in a news conference minutes after the resolution. He said the situation had gotten to the point where authorities believed the lives of the hostages were in 'immediate danger.'
'It's an unfortunate circumstance we did not want this to end this way,' Ritter said. 'But with the decisions this guy was making, this was his demise.'
A SWAT officer was shot in the hand or arm as the team entered the residence but he is expected to be fine.
The gunman had originally taken five men hostage just before 4 p.m but one firefighter was released to move a fire truck, according to authorities. The man allegedly faked a heart attack to lure the firefighters to his two-story house.
Police had been communicating with the unidentified suspect before the SWAT team entered the property. The suspect was apparently suffering financial difficulties and was asking to have his power and cable be turned back on, Fox News reported.
Police said the firemen responded to the home on Walnut Grove Way after the seemingly routine medical call.
Ambulance: An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard
Team: Gwinnett County Police Department SWAT members, pictured, shot and killed the suspect just before 8 p.m.
'They arrived at the scene. They went in and began to do what they do every day when they were taken hostage,' said Rutledge earlier. 'There was no indication there would be anything wrong at the home even when they made entry.'
He said the firefighters responded to the address with one ambulance and one fire engine, adding that they are cross trained as medical and firefighting forces. Rutledge would not comment on whether there was a genuine medical emergency.
Ritter said authorities did not believe there were any civilians inside the house but claimed he didn't know whether the man was alone when the original call was made.
'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 after a 5:45 p.m. press conference. 'Our hopes are for a peaceful resolution.'
Scene: A gunman is holding four firefighters hostage in Georgia after they responded to medical call
Stand off: Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said the man has barricaded himself inside the house, pictured, in Suwanee with the firefighters who responded to a medical call
Streets: 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
The residence is near Collins Hill Road and Taylor Road. According to the TV station, the house, worth around $150,000, had been foreclosed on.
Freddie Mac confirmed that the bank is prepping the property for sale but that it was not yet on the market. Spokesman Brad German said there was a tenant living in the house when it was foreclosed. It's not clear whether that person is still living there.
Television helicopter footage showed dozens of police and fire trucks surrounding the neighborhood of mostly two-story homes and well-kept lawns about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.
Local news crews are on the scene but Ritter had asked that TV helicopters stay clear of the airspace for the safety of all involved.
The home is near Collins Hill Park, Walnut Grove Elementary School and Collins Hill High School.