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UPDATE: 4 Ga. firefighters held hostage; SWAT on scene

Posted: April 10, 2013 3:43 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2013 3:43 p.m.
 

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) — The gunman holding 4 firefighters was shot dead. The hostages were injured but are OK; only one SWAT officer was hit.

Four firefighters who responded to what seemed like a routine medical call were being held hostage Wednesday by a gunman who has barricaded himself in a home in suburban Atlanta, authorities said.

Five firefighters responded to the call in Suwanee and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house, Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said. The gunman released one of the firefighters to move a fire truck.

Authorities were not releasing information on what happened inside the home, but did say it doesn't appear any of the firefighters has been hurt.

The gunman's motive was unclear to police and fire officials, and a SWAT team and negotiator have made contact with the suspect.

Fire department Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the medical call seemed routine and firefighters did not believe there was any danger. One engine and one ambulance responded.

"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.

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. Residents were not being allowed in to their neighborhood.

The firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians, said Rutledge, who would not speculate on whether there was a real emergency at the home.

"Our firefighters responded to a call they respond to hundreds of times, and that's a medical emergency," he said.

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