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Firefighter Hostages Update: Slain Ga. suspect ID'd as 55-year-old man, Lauren Brown

Lauren Brown
CBS Atlanta
(CBS/AP) GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A gunman who allegedly lured firefighters to his home with an emergency call, then held four of them hostage for hours, has been identified by police as 55-year-old Lauren Brown.

Brown, who was heavily armed with half-dozen guns in his house, planned the kidnapping for weeks, targeting firefighters so he wouldn't be shot, authorities said Thursday.

The financially strapped man whose power, cable and other utilities had been cut off because of non-payment, demanded they be restored but made no attempt to negotiate as he held hostages in his suburban Atlanta home Wednesday.

Brown called 911 and said he was suffering from chest pains, and five Gwinnett County firefighters arrived at 3:48 p.m., believing it was a routine call, Police Chief Charles Walters said. Brown was lying in bed and appeared to be suffering from a condition that left him unable to move. But when they approached the bed to help him, he pulled out a handgun, Walters said.

Brown let one of the firefighters go so that he could move the vehicles from the front of his house but held the other four hostage for 3 1/2 hours.

At about 7:30p.m., police were convinced that even if they met Brown's demands, he had no intention of releasing his hostages, Walters said.

Brown had requested items from a fast food seafood restaurant for himself and his hostages, and a SWAT officer carrying the food approached the house in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Other SWAT members set off a stun blast to distract Brown and stormed the house. Brown opened fire on the first officer as he entered the bedroom. The man was hit in the left arm by one of the shots, but managed to return fire, killing Brown. Before Brown fired, police told him to drop his weapon, Walters said.

According to public records, Brown's house is in foreclosure and has been bank-owned since mid-November.

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports Brown was a quiet man who kept to himself, according to neighbors.

"We just waved hi to him," Jasmin Gutierrez, Brown's 12-year-old neighbor, told the paper. "He wouldn't ever come out. He wouldn't get his mail, he wouldn't cut his grass. People would ring his doorbell just to see if he's OK and he wouldn't answer."

Complete coverage of the firefighter hostages case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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