Firefighters Rescued After Being Taken Hostage In Atlanta


By Jueseppi B.


130410221442-firefighters-hostage-neighbors-hug-horizontal-galleryNeighbors embrace after a hostage situation ends in Suwanee, Georgia, on Wednesday, April 10. A gunman in apparent financial distress took several firefighters hostage the Atlanta suburb, then was killed in an exchange of gunfire hours later after law enforcement authorities determined he might lash out at his captives.




From CNN


Police: Man killed after taking firefighters hostage in suburban Atlanta


By Greg Botelho and David Mattingly, CNN April 11, 2013

Suwanee, Georgia (CNN) — A gunman in apparent financial distress took several firefighters hostage Wednesday in suburban Atlanta, then was killed in an exchange of gunfire hours later after law enforcement authorities determined he might lash out at his captives.


“It got to the point where we believed that (the firefighters’) lives were in immediate danger,” Gwinnett County police spokesman Ed Ritter said Wednesday night. “And our SWAT team made the decision to go in there and neutralize the situation.”


All four Gwinnett County firefighters who were being held hostage suffered “superficial” injuries after authorities used explosives “to distract the suspect to get in the house and take care of business,” Ritter explained. Their injuries were the result of the explosions, not gunfire, and all four were expected to go home by night’s end.


One law enforcement officer was shot in the incident, but his injury is not considered life-threatening, according to Ritter. All those involved in the incident — including the Gwinnett County police officer — were in good condition as they were treated at Gwinnett Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Beth Okun said. Several have been released, she said.


“They are simply relieved that the situation is over,” said Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Thomas Rutledge. “The firefighters are glad to be getting treated … and really work on getting their lives back to normal.”




A Gwinnett County police officer clears the road after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the home in Suwanee. Authorities used explosives to distract the suspect and get in the house.




Gunman Killed After Holding Firefighters Hostage





The hostage situation began around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday when the firefighters went to a residence in Suwanee “for some type of medical call,” Ritter said. Four hours later, he noted authorities still weren’t sure whether that call was for a “fake heart attack” or the gunman was actually suffering from a medical condition.


One fire engine and an ambulance were sent to the scene, as is customary, Rutledge said. He explained that the firefighters involved are cross-trained as paramedics so they can provide aid to county residents in purported medical emergencies like this, which happen “hundreds of times throughout the year.”


“This is what they do, it’s what they do very well,” said Rutledge, saying the firefighters had no reason to think this situation would turn violent. “This call seemed to be no different … They were caught off guard.”


Five firefighters had gone inside the home — a two-story structure, one of many in the neighborhood about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta — with a stretcher, then a single firefighter ran out about 30 minutes later, according to neighbors. Rutledge said one firefighter was let go so he could move the fire truck from in front of the house.


The house was foreclosed upon in November and was being prepared for sale, said Brad German, a spokesman for Freddie Mac. It was not clear what, if anything, that fact had to do with what unfolded Wednesday.


Jake Major, an 18-year-old neighbor who used to mow the alleged hostage taker’s lawn, said he seemed “really nice, … like a normal guy.” His yard, though, “was a mess (and) inside it was just as bad,” Major said.


Ritter, the police spokesman, said that the unidentified gunman started making demands related to the house after taking the firefighters hostage.


“The power was turned off along with the cable and cell phone and so on, and he wanted all those things turned back on,” said Ritter, adding that “apparently he was going through some financial issues.”




A Gwinnett County Fire Rescue ambulance rushes from the scene after the hostage situation ended. The four firefighters being held hostage suffered “superficial” injuries as a result of the explosions.



Hostage negotiators were on site, as were agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Richard Coes, a spokesman for that agency.


As scores of law enforcement officers converged on the site, Major said his only hope was that everything he was hearing about the situation “was wrong.”


“I knew that (once) it had escalated to this level, … it wasn’t going to end well,” said Major, who lives about a block away. “Whatever happened, it wasn’t going to end well.”


Explosions rang out around 7:30 p.m., and soon after ambulances rushed away from the scene.




A SWAT team member heads to his car after the standoff. One law enforcement officer was shot in the incident, but his injury is not considered life-threatening, officials said.



“Thirty seconds later, I knew everything was OK,” said Wesley Gossan, who lived two doors down, of the sequence of big and small explosions, followed by a flurry of gunfire. “Because the (firefighters) walked out, they took their hard hats off.”


Ritter explained later that there had been an exchange of “gunfire between officers and that individual.”


“This was his call, his decision, this was the result of his actions,” the police spokesman said.


“We didn’t want it this way. But he was calling the shots.”


CNN’s David Mattingly reported from Suwanee, and Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta. CNN’s Dave Alsup, Chandler Friedman, Vivian Kuo and Carol Cratty contributed to this report.




Gwinnett County police spokesman Ed Ritter, center, addresses the media Wednesday night. “It got to the point where we believed that (the firefighters’) lives were in immediate danger,” he said. “And our SWAT team made the decision to go in there and neutralize the situation.”



Firefighters Taken Hostage ‘Relieved’ Ordeal Over


Published on Apr 11, 2013

ABC News
See realtime coverage
Firefighters Taken Hostage ‘Relieved’ Ordeal Over
ABC News – ‎43 minutes ago‎
Share. 0. It’s a call that firefighters routinely respond to – a report of a medical emergency. But when five firefighters answered one in a neighborhood north of Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said, they encountered an armed man his utilities be turned back on.






A police officer stands guard in the Walnut Grove subdivision in Suwanee, where the incident took place.





Thank you CNN.


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Hey Wayne LaPierre…Any Advice For Little Ethan The Hostage?

By Jueseppi B.








Associated Press/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh – Heavily armed men move away from the suspects home at the scene of a Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013. Authorities were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say on Tuesday intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home in Alabama. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)




From Yahoo News Via Associated Press:


Standoff: Ala. gunman kills bus driver, seizes boy


By PHILLIP RAWLS | Associated Press


MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama law enforcement authorities say negotiations are ongoing with a gunman who has been holed up with a 5-year-old boy for more than a day after snatching the child off a school bus and fatally shooting the bus driver.


Alabama State Trooper Charles Dysart told news media gathered near the site of the standoff late Wednesday that nothing in the situation has changed. He said no additional information would be released until Thursday morning.


SWAT teams have taken up positions around the gunman’s rural property and police negotiators are trying to win the 5-year-old’s safe release.


Authorities initially said the boy was 6, but a state lawmaker who has spent time with the kindergartner’s family says he does not turn 6 until next week.




From The Associated Press:





MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Speaking into a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe, hostage negotiators tried Thursday to talk a man into releasing a kindergartner and ending a standoff in an underground bunker that stretched into its third day.


The man identified by multiple neighbors and witnesses as 65-year-old retired truck driver Jimmy Lee Dykes was accused of pulling the boy from a school bus on Tuesday and killing the driver. The pair was holed up in a small room on his property that authorities compared to tornado shelters common in the area.


James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, said the shelter was about 4 feet underground, with about 6-by-8 feet of floor space and a PVC pipe that negotiators were speaking through.


There were signs that the standoff could continue for some time: A state legislator said the shelter has electricity, food and TV. The police chief said the captor has been sleeping and told negotiators that he has spent long periods in the shelter before.


“He will have to give up sooner or later because (authorities) are not leaving,” Arrington said. “It’s pretty small, but he’s been known to stay in there eight days.”


Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said he has been briefed by law enforcement and visited with the boy’s parents.


“He’s crying for his parents,” he said. “They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them.”


Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said he visited the boy’s mother Thursday and that she is “hanging on by a thread.”


“Everybody is praying with her for the boy,” he said.


Clouse said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe, he said.


The normally quiet red clay road leading to the bunker was teeming Thursday with more than a dozen police cars and trucks, a fire truck, a helicopter, officers from multiple agencies, news media and at least one ambulance near Midland City, population 2,300.


As night fell and temperatures dipped into the low 40’s, police and other emergency workers wore heavy coats outside a small church being used as a command post. Neighbors said Dykes had a small heater in the bunker.


Overhead, a small aircraft with blinking lights flew wide circles high above the man’s property. An ambulance remained parked on the side of the dirt road.


“The three past days have not been easy on anybody,” Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said at a news briefing late Thursday. He said authorities were still communicating with the suspect, and that their primary goal was to get the boy home safely.


“There’s no reason to believe the child has been harmed,” he said.


Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm.


The chief confirmed that Dykes held anti-government views, as described by multiple neighbors: “He’s against the government — starting with Obama on down.”


“He doesn’t like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do,” he said. “He’s just a loner.”


Authorities say the gunman boarded a stopped school bus Tuesday afternoon and demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. When the driver tried to block his way, the gunman shot him several times and took a 5-year-old boy off the bus.


The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus.


No motive has been discussed by investigators, but the police chief said the FBI had evidence suggesting it could be considered a hate crime. Federal authorities have not released any details about the standoff or the investigation. The mayor said he hasn’t seen anything tying together Dykes’ anti-government views and the allegations against him.


Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump. Neighbor Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her, her son and her baby grandson over damage Dykes claimed their pickup truck did to a makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.


The son, James Davis Jr., believes Tuesday’s shooting was connected to the court date. “I believe he thought I was going to be in court and he was going to get more charges than the menacing, which he deserved, and he had a bunch of stuff to hide and that’s why he did it.”


Neighbors described a number of other run-ins with Dykes in the time since he moved to this small town near the Georgia and Florida borders, in a region known for peanut farming.


A neighbor directly across the street, Brock Parrish, said Dykes usually wore overalls and glasses and his posture was hunched-over. He said Dykes usually drove a run-down “creeper” van with some of the windows covered in aluminum foil.


Parrish saw him often digging in his yard, as if he was preparing a spot to lay down a driveway or a building foundation. He lived in a small camping trailer on the site. He patrolled his lawn at night, walking from corner to corner with a flashlight and an assault rifle.


Mike and Patricia Smith, who also live across the street from Dykes and whose two children were on the bus, said their youngsters had a run-in with him about 10 months ago.


“My bulldogs got loose and went over there,” Patricia Smith said. “The children went to get them. He threatened to shoot them if they came back.”

Another neighbor, Ronda Wilbur, said Dykes beat her 120-pound dog with a lead pipe for coming onto his side of the dirt road. The dog died a week later.


“He said his only regret was he didn’t beat him to death all the way,” Wilbur said. “If a man can kill a dog, and beat it with a lead pipe and brag about it, it’s nothing until it’s going to be people.”


Court records showed Dykes was arrested in Florida in 1995 for improper exhibition of a weapon, but the misdemeanor was dismissed. The circumstances of the arrest were not detailed in his criminal record. He was also arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.



Associated Press writers Jay Reeves, Melissa Nelson-Gabriel, Bob Johnson in Montgomery and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.


















Update: Aurora, Colorado Shooting. 4 Dead Including Gunman.

By Jueseppi B.







Latest update on Aurora, Colorado Shooting:


From ABC News:


Aurora Townhouse Shooting: 4 Dead, Including Gunman



By  (@alyssanewcomb)  Jan. 5, 2013


Four people were killed, including the gunman, during a hostage standoff this morning at a townhouse in Aurora, Colo., police said.


Police pumped tear gas into the home in an attempt to get the gunman to leave, and then went into the home and shot him, ABC News Denver affiliate KMGH-TV reported.


The three people found dead in the home are believed to be relatives of the shooter, Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told KMGH. A fourth person was found unharmed, she said.


Officers responded to the home after the first reports of gunshots came in around 3 a.m.


The suspected gunman was found dead inside the townhome at 9 a.m., but police were not sure when he had been shot by officers or killed himself, she said.


“We’re just getting in there with our crime scene detectives, so obviously we’ll have to determine if it was our rounds or his rounds,” Carlson said. “This is a big investigation, and a lot is entailed.”


Carlson said neighboring residences were evacuated while the SWAT team attempted to resolve the standoff.


“We’ve evacuated several residences in the neighboring townhomes and in the immediate area where we believed would be the most dangerous,” Carlson told KMGH-TV earlier today.


The Colorado town was the site of a movie theater massacre last July. A gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.


Keep updating on this breaking story at ABC News




From earlier today before reports were updated:


The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS is reporting:


Police surround house in Colorado where gunman, possibly with hostages, has boarded up


As many as 40 officers, including SWAT teams and hostage negotiators, are on scene at the home in Aurora, Colo.





More than 40 officers surrounded the house in surburban Denver, police said.

An “armed and dangerous” man was holed up inside a suburban Denver home on Saturday, possibly with as many as three hostages, police said.


Officers were called to the townhome in Aurora, Colo. around 3 a.m. after reports of shots fired, Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told the Daily News. An “armed and dangerous” man was inside the home and has refused to surrender to police, she said.


As many as 40 officers, including SWAT teams and hostage negotiators, were still on scene more than six hours after the standoff began.


It was unclear if anyone inside the home was wounded or what prompted the incident.


Police believe there are a total of three or four adults inside the home, including the suspect, Carlson said. “They haven’t come out of their own free will,” she said, explaining that police believe they are being kept hostage.


Police have spoken briefly on the phone with the suspect, she said.


“We are just trying to do things as safely as possible at this point,” she said.


Follow this developing story at  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS




From The ABC 7 News Denver Channel:


SWAT called to Aurora townhouse

Several neighbors evacuated

AURORA, Colo. – A SWAT team and other officers are working at a townhouse in Aurora after reports of shots being fired.


According to Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson, the report of the gunshots came in around 3 a.m. Officers were sent to the 16000 block of E. Ithaca Place where they determined someone was barricaded inside one of the townhomes.


Carlson said there was a possibility of other adults being inside the home, but said it was unclear how many or if any of them are injured.


“We have strong reason to believe that he is armed,” Calson said.


7NEWS Photojournalist Eric Goody reported that he has heard several loud bangs as the SWAT team has deployed tear gas into the apartment.


“We’ve evacuated several residences in the neighboring townhomes and in the immediate area where we believed would be the most dangerous.”


Some of the evacuees were wrapped in blankets as they were taken to the fire station at the intersection of East Hampden Ave. and East Hampden Cir.


Because the suspect is believed to be dangerous, Carlson said the SWAT team is using the “utmost caution.” Additionally, neighbors were alerted to the situation through a reverse-911 call and several of the nearby homes have been evacuated for safety.


Hampden Road is shut down in both directions from Kalispell St. to Laredo St.


Keep up to date on this story at The ABC 7 News Denver Channel.
















What We Learned From Columbine: Nothing.

By Jueseppi B.








When Will We Learn?




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Who Needs Gun Control: UPDATE: Three Dead. Suspect Body Found Dead Inside Spa.

By Jueseppi B.



Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, Wis. (Photo: Brookfield Police Dept, AP)





BROOKFIELD, Wisc. — A county dispatcher in Wisconsin says the suspect in a mass shooting at a spa outside Milwaukee has been found dead inside the  Azana Salon and Spa.


Christine Bannister is a dispatch supervisor for Waukesha County communications center. She says 45-year-old Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, of Brown Deer, has been found dead. She could not provide more details.



Wisconsin authorities release photo of suspect in mass shooting near Milwaukee-area mall


Published October 21, 2012


Associated Press


BROOKFIELD, Wis. –  Deputies searched Sunday for a man suspected of wounding multiple people in a shooting at a spa near a suburban Milwaukee shopping mall.


Police released a photograph of the man they identified as Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer. They said he was still at-large and the public’s help was needed in tracking him down.


Brookfield police told WTMJ-AM the shooting happened about 11 a.m. Sunday at a spa across the street from the Brookfield Square Mall. The mall, a country club adjacent to the spa, a nearby hospital and other buildings were locked down, local media reported.


Brookfield Police Lt. John Beth said a bomb squad from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department was at the spa. He wouldn’t say why the unit was there but said it was not routine to have it respond to a shooting.


Spokesmen for the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said their agencies also had agents participating in the investigation.


Milwaukee FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said his agency sent a SWAT team and hostage negotiators, among others.


Online court records showed a temporary restraining order was issued against Haughton in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Oct. 8 because of a domestic abuse complaint.


Beth Strohbusch, a spokeswoman for Froedtert Memorial Hospital — one of the buildings reportedly locked down — said four shooting victims were taken there, and three more were expected. She said none of the four already received were in critical condition.


The shooting took place at Azana Day Spa, a two-story, 9,000-square-foot building across from the mall in a middle- to upper-class community west of Milwaukee.


It was the second mass shooting in Wisconsin this year. Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran and white supremacist, killed six people and injured three others before fatally shooting himself Aug. 5 at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee.


The shooting at the mall took place less than a mile from where seven people were killed and four wounded on March 12, 2005, when a gunman opened fire at a Living Church of God service held at a hotel.



Read more:





More On This Shooting:


Three dead, manhunt underway after Wisconsin shootings


By John Bacon, USA TODAY


5:04PM EDT October 21. 2012 – Three people were killed and four wounded when a gunman opened fire at a suburban Milwaukee spa Sunday, Brookfield Police Chief Dan Tushaus said.


A manhunt was underway for the suspect, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45. An improvised explosive device was found at the Azana Salon and Spa, Tushaus said.


Police, sheriff’s deputies and a bomb detection team were on the scene, Brookfield Police Lt. John Beth told the Associated Press.


The Journal Sentinel newspaper in Milwuakee said police described the suspect as a dark-skinned man, 6-2 and 210 pounds, wearing a gray sweater and blue jeans and carrying a white and black backpack.


The paper quoted David Gosh of West Allis, who said he saw a woman run out of the spa and then, moments later, a man run out with a handgun, apparently chasing the woman. Gosh said police began streaming to the scene, and the gunman, seeing them, ran back into the building — or perhaps into the woods behind the building.


“He was the shooter,” Gosh told the Journal Sentinel. “He was looking for an escape route.”


Court records showed a temporary restraining order was issued against Haughton in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Oct. 8 because of a domestic abuse complaint, AP said.


WISN-TV reported that officials described a “mass casualty” situation and that the scene was not secured. The shootings took place around 11 a.m. local time, or noon ET.


WISN said traffic had been redirected away from the spa and nearby Brookfield Square Mall, and armed officers had surrounded the spa.


Milwaukee FBI spokesman Leonard Peace told AP that an FBI SWAT team, hostage negotiators, command staff and victims specialists were helping with the response. But he declined to say how many FBI personnel were involved in all or discuss whether a hostage situation was involved.


Robert Schmidt, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said it had 10 agents participating.


Beth Strohbusch, a spokeswoman for Froedtert Memorial Hospital, said four shooting victims were taken there, and three more were expected. She said none of the four already received were in critical condition.


WISN said police were asking people in the mall’s parking lot to clear out so officers were setting up operations there. Tactical teams were on the scene, as well as numerous fire, ambulance and police vehicles. A medical helicopter also was on the ground.


The shootings took place less than three months after the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., about 20 miles away. The temple shootings resulted in the death of seven people including the gunman who killed himself.


The spa shootings took place less than a mile from where seven people were killed and four wounded on March 12, 2005, when a gunman opened fire at a Living Church of God service held at a hotel.




This kind of tragic murder will continue until gun laws are changed. This happens way too often in America and around the globe. There are 311 million Americans lives that are threatened daily by over 280 million guns.


Nationwide gun control will happen. It’s just a matter of time.


And a matter of how many of that 311 million Americans will still be alive to see it become law.




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