Officers kill Suwanee man who held firefighters hostage - News, Weather & Sports

Officers kill Suwanee man who held firefighters hostage


Gwinnett County police said the lives of four firefighters being held hostage were in grave danger so they had to act swiftly in order to save their lives.

That swift action came in the form of a SWAT team that used explosives to disorient the gunman and enter the home.

It was just after 7 p.m. that explosions and gunfire were heard coming from the home on the 2000 block of Walnut Grove Way in Suwanee. The home has a huge hole where police blew in the side of the building to gain access.

"They went in there, they used that flash bang to distract him, basically to get in there and take care of business and that's what they did," said Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Ed Ritter. "One of our officers received a gunshot wound to the arm or wrist - not sure yet, but it is going to be non-life-threatening."

Ritter said it was unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but he was glad the firefighters and officers involved were not hurt.

"We are thrilled our firefighters are going home tonight and the same with the officers. It is an unfortunate circumstance. We did not want this to end this way, but with the decisions this guy was making, it's his demise. He was calling the shots and this is the end result of what he was doing."

The initial call to the home was a 911 call made by the gunman. According to investigators, the man faked a heart attack to lure the firefighters into the home where he then held them at gunpoint. Ritter said the man had recently been going through financial issues.

"He took them hostage to try to meet these demands he wanted. He wanted his power turned back on, the cable and so on," Ritter said.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the firefighters worked to help the man even as he held a gun on them, threatening to kill them.

"We are relieved that our firefighters are going to go home safe to their families," Rutledge said. "They (firefighters) were also helping meet his needs while they were in there. And that is just traditional, typical of what firefighters do."

At one point there were five firefighters inside the home. During the hostage situation he let one firefighter out of the house so he could move the fire truck.

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