Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Man In Wheelchair Holds Three Hostage

Who says people in wheelchairs are not troublemakers? The following is taken from a newspaper article about an incident in Virginia:

"An armed man in a wheelchair held three people hostage at a post office in the US state of Virginia yesterday, forcing officials to cordon off three blocks of the small town which was filled with holiday shoppers.

There were no reports of injuries, however shots were fired during the eight-hour long stand-off in which the man, believed to be carrying explosives, made no demands other than to ask for a pizza.

A SWAT team and bomb technician were sent into the post office, in the rural mountain town of Wytheville, and police at the scene said that the man had five pounds of a common plastic explosive strapped to his chest.

Susan Holman, the manager of a store across the street, said officers had told employees to leave the building because there was a man with explosives in the post office

“The officer told us the man had enough explosives to take out the whole block,” Ms Holman told a local newspaper.

After several hours authorities ordered the suspect to let the hostages go and come out with his hands up. Soon afterwards, four people left the building, including a man in a wheelchair who surrendered to a police robot.

Police later said Warren Taylor of Tennessee is being questioned and authorities do not yet have a motive. It was believed the hostages who were kept inside the building were employees and customers of the post office.

Carlton Austin said his daughter, postal worker Margie Austin, was among the hostages. She managed to call a family friend and said she was fine. Her father said family members were still waiting to hear more. “That is all we can do,” Mr Austin said. Postal worker Walt Korndoerfer said he was in the building when he heard shots and a co-worker ran past. He called police and then ran to safety.

His wife, Christine Korndoerfer, said he had called to let her know he had safely escaped the building. “My husband is not one to get upset,” Mrs Korndoerfer said. “When he called, I do not think I have ever heard him so upset.”

Wytheville town manager Wayne Sutherland, speaking from his office four blocks from the scene, said dozens of officers had circled the freestanding, brick post office.
“It is completely surrounded by police in every direction,” Mr Sutherland said.

Pete Rendina, a spokesman for the US Postal Inspection Service, said the man was in a wheelchair and missing part of his leg, but he had no other information.

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