03/10/2006

Gunman holed up in Canadian motel bar, possibly with hostages

The Associated Press

MONCTON, New Brunswick- An armed man was holed up in a motel bar and may have taken hostages, police and witnesses said Friday.

The man entered the bar at an Econo Lodge in the eastern city of Moncton with a gun and ordered everyone out, police and witnesses told CBC television. There are unconfirmed reports that the man is holding as many as two hostages.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable Michel Mercier said a police negotiator was in contact with the man, but he could not confirm whether any hostages had been taken.

"The rest of the hotel has been evacuated, as well as the surrounding businesses," he said.

Kevin Campbell, an eyewitness from a neighboring business, said some of the people who fled the bar reported that the man entered with a gun and ordered everyone out. He apparently put a gun to the head of a patron who was playing a video lottery game.

"Other employees at the hotel said this gentleman was playing the (lottery) machines yesterday and lost quite a bit of money," Campbell told the CBC. "Some people are very shook up, and crying. it was very traumatic for them."

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