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Hostages lured into Ga. home, police say

SUWANEE, Ga. — A gaping hole Thursday exposed wooden beams and insulation on one side of a suburban Atlanta house where a financially strapped gunman held four firefighters hostage for hours, demanding that his utilities be restored, before being shot dead by a SWAT officer.

Lauren Brown, 55, was armed with a half-dozen guns, police said.

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He told the firefighters that he had planned the hostage-taking for weeks and targeted them during Wednesday’s ordeal in suburban Atlanta so that he would not be shot, Gwinnett County Police said Thursday.

All four were slightly injured but are fine.

Brown called 911 to lure the firefighters to the home by saying he had a medical emergency, said Police Chief Charles Walters.

When five firefighters arrived at 3:48, believing it was a routine call, he was lying in bed and appeared to be suffering from a medical condition that left him motionless.

But when they approached the bed to help him, he pulled out a handgun, Walters said.

He let one go to move the vehicles from the front of his house but kept the other four.

That began a 3½-hour standoff during which Brown demanded that his power, cable, and other utilities cut off because of non-payment be restored.

At about 7:30, police were convinced that even if they met Brown’s demands, he had no intention of releasing his hostages, Walters said.

A SWAT officer posing as someone delivering food that Brown had demanded approached the house in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Other SWAT members set off a stun blast to distract Brown and stormed the house. Brown opened fire on the first officer as he entered the bedroom.

The man was hit in the left arm by one of the shots, but managed to return fire, killing Brown.

Before Brown fired, police told him to drop his weapon, Walters said.

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