Police: Gunman holding firefighters hostage in suburban Atlanta
CNN — A "barricaded gunman" is holding several Gwinnett County, Georgia, firefighters hostage in suburban Atlanta, a police spokesman said.
The hostage situation occurred after firefighters responded around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday to a residence in Suwanee, Georgia, "for some type of medical call," Gwinnett County police spokesman Ed Ritter said.
Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Thomas Rutledge later said one fire engine and an ambulance were sent to the scene, as is customary. He explained that the firefighters involved are cross-trained as paramedics so they can provide aid in cases like this, which they believed was "a typical medical emergency at a private residence."
"There was no indication or any reason to believe that there would be a violent situation," Rutledge said.
Five firefighters were initially being held hostage, but one of them was released late Wednesday afternoon so he could move the fire truck from in front of the house, according to the fire department spokesman.
That still left four firefighters inside the residence about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.
"We're not getting any word that any of those firefighters have been harmed," Rutledge said.
"Several (hostage) negotiators" were on site, Ritter, the police spokesman, said early Wednesday evening.
FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said his agency's hostage team has been requested. And the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives already has sent a handful of agents to assist, according to Richard Coes, a spokesman for that agency. He added that authorities don't believe the hostage-taker has any explosives inside the house.
Media are being urged not to send helicopters over the site or transmit footage from the scene.
"Right now it's a very touchy situation and anything could happen at this point," said Ritter. "We've got to keep it as calm as possible and keep him calm."