SUWANNE, Georgia — A flash-bang followed by a series of gunshots were heard coming from the neighborhood where a “barricaded gunman” was holding several Gwinnett County, Georgia, firefighters hostage in suburban Atlanta.
A SWAT team entered the home just after 7:30 EST. and engaged the suspect in a gun battle.
“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.”
The unidentified gunman was fatally wounded in the exchange.
One law enforcement officer was shot in the incident, but his injury is not considered life-threatening, according to Ritter.
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.
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.
Five firefighters were initially being held hostage, but one of them was released early Wednesday evening, according to the fire department spokesman.