Hostage taker surrenders peacefully at Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign office

Friday, November 30, 2007

Map highlighting location of Rochester.
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A man claiming to have had a bomb is reported by WMUR to have surrendered peacefully at the campaign office of Senator Hillary Clinton in the small New Hampshire city of Rochester.

Three individuals, which includes a child, were taken hostage and were later released without injury. Earlier reports stated that there might have been a fourth hostage. The adults are said to be campaign employees.

The hostage taker is being named by media as Leeland Eisenberg from Somersworth, N.H., a white male in his "40s with salt and pepper hair" and is known to police by prior incidents which includes family issues and he is also reported to have a history of emotional and mental health problems. According to the son of the hostage taker, he talked to a witness and said his father had been drinking last night and strapped road flares to his chest and said he was going to talk to Senator Clinton.

WMUR cameras captured on live TV an armored car pulling up in front of the office and shortly after Leeland was seen walking out of the building, dropped something on the ground and surrendered to police. It is said that Leeland believed the U.S. government "is coming after him" and that there was a conspiracy to have him caught. Leeland has been taken to the local police station in Rochester.

After the scene was evacuated of all hostages and the suspect, police used a robot to examine the reported device or bomb that Leeland was said to have.

According to the DNC chairman Howard Dean, Senator Clinton has cancelled a speech at a Democratic National Committee meeting in Vienna, Virginia and all other events today to deal with the situation. Her husband, former US President Bill Clinton canceled a speech in New York City. Senators Barack Obama and John Edwards also have campaign offices down the street which have been closed and locked down along with the rest of downtown Rochester. Clinton's campaign offices located in Des Moines, Iowa have also been closed on a temporary basis.

"Unfortunately as some of you know, there is a hostage situation in New Hampshire involving a Clinton campaign staff person. The details are sketchy at this time, but understandably Sen. Clinton is now dealing with this very difficult problem and she is not going to be able to join us today. And we will keep them in our prayers and hope for a resolution to this situation in New Hampshire," said Dean at a press conference.

The incident began at around 1:00 p.m. (eastern time).