Atlanta firefighters were held hostage for hours

2:18 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC) - Firefighters held hostage for hours in a suburban Atlanta home are safe after SWAT teams stormed the home, shooting and killing the suspect.

It started as a routine medical call Wednesday for five firefighters in the quiet Atlanta suburb of Gwinette County, Georgia, but turned terribly wrong. "Upon their arrival they met with the person that called 911, once they arrived on scene they were taken hostage," said Corporal E.J. Ritter of the Gwinnett Police Department.

One of the firefighters was released when the suspect told him to move the fire truck away from the house.

He then made specific demands in exchange for the four remaining firefighters. "These demands were to have his power turned back on, apparently he is going through some financial issues, and the power was turned off along with the cable, cell phone and so forth, said Corporal Ritter.

Officers blocked off the area and surrounded the house, setting the stage for a standoff that lasted several hours.

As day turned to dusk, officers decided they couldn't wait any longer and stormed the home.

The SWAT team set off a flash bang device and entered the home, exchanging gunfire with the suspect. "It got to a point where we believed that their lives were in immediate danger and the SWAT team made the decision to go in there and neutralize the situation," said Corporal Ritter.

The suspect was killed in the shootout. One SWAT member was shot, and taken to a nearby hospital but is expected to be okay.

All four firefighters suffered superficial injuries when the flash grenade detonated. The firefighters also went to the hospital, and were released several hours later.

Kurt Gregory, NBC News.

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