Couple takes lawyer hostage and said to have explosives

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Map highlighting Bulloch County Georgia

A male and a female took 3 people hostage at a law firm in Statesboro, Georgia. Police blocked off a part of this rural town on Monday. Two suspects , a man and a woman, took a lawyer hostage and claimed that they had explosives.

The suspects, Robert Eugene Brower, 43, a former client of the lawyer, and the female whose name was not released, gave up after demands for cigarettes and food were met and they spoke with a family member.

The standoff lasted for 24 hours and ended, "peacefully," at around 10AM said Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.

The last of the 3 hostages to be released was identified as Michael Hostilo. He and the other two hostages were not injured. There is no word on the names of the other hostages.

Earlier reports stated that there had been a "loud boom" coming from the scene at about six o'clock this morning. Authorities have not stated what the booms were.

Police are now inside the building to locate and defuse the explosive device that the suspects claimed to have had.

Initially when police arrived, there were 3 hostages, but 2 had been recently released and were unharmed, said Maggie Fitzgerald, a city spokeswoman. "They are upset with some legal issues within the recent past and want to get those issues resolved. We are doing everything possible to end this situation without anyone being hurt."

In a news conference Monday night, Police Chief Stan York said Brower was angry about "having been convicted in a criminal case", in which the lawyer was his court-appointed attorney. York did not elaborate on the demands of the hostage-takers, other than saying, "they only wanted to call attention to the case."

Georgia State Trooper Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol, said a SWAT team was sent to the scene.

This morning authorities convinced the two suspects to give-up, but "incidents leading to an escalation resulted in some gunfire," Stan York in a press conference just moments ago. No one was hurt in the brief eruption of gunfire.

Police later said when the suspects tried to surrender they became apprehensive and made a threatening gesture prompting authorities to draw their guns and open fire.

The standoff began at around 9AM on Monday.