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Gunman holding firefighters dead after standoff

Police said the unidentified gunman was demanding that his cable and power be turned back on.

John Bazemore

Police said the unidentified gunman was demanding that his cable and power be turned back on.

SUWANEE, Ga. — A gunman who was having financial problems held four firefighters for hours in a suburban Atlanta home, demanding his cable and power be turned back on, before being shot dead when SWAT members stormed the house, authorities said Wednesday. The hostages had cuts and bruises from explosions officers set off to distract the gunman before moving in, but they will be fine, a fire official said.

Minutes before police announced the resolution, a huge blast could be heard a quarter-mile away from the home, shuddering through the suburban neighborhood 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

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Earlier Wednesday, five firefighters responded to what seemed like a routine medical call and were eventually taken hostage by an unidentified suspect inside the house, police said. The gunman released one of the firefighters to move a fire truck but held the other four.

The situation remained tense until the blast rocked the neighborhood. Residents unable to get into their neighborhood because of the police cordon flinched and recoiled after the enormous blast went off.

Soon after the stun blast, officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect and a SWAT member was shot in the hand or arm, but should be fine, said Gwinnett County Police Corporal Edwin Ritter. Ritter would not say how the gunman, who was not identified, was fatally shot, saying it was being investigated.

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