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September 17, 2003
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Gunman at Tenn. College Shot Dead by Police

Associated Press

DYERSBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- A gunman held at least a dozen people hostage in a college classroom before he was shot and killed by police after a nine-hour standoff. Two hostages were wounded.

Police rushed into the building at Dyersburg State Community College around 10 p.m. after hearing shots. Authorities said the gunman, 26-year-old Harold Kilpatrick Jr., had left a note saying he "wanted to kill some people and die today."

Dyersburg Police Chief Bobby Williamson initially said Kilpatrick fatally shot himself, but he later confirmed that officers shot him.

"Our people shot one - the hostage-taker - and two others were wounded," Williamson said.

It was not immediately clear whether the two hostages were wounded by police or Kilpatrick. Williamson said the injuries to the hostages were not serious.

Four ambulances were at the college building in Dyersburg, about 75 miles northeast of Memphis. Three people were carried out of the building on stretchers. Police escorted several other people from the building.

The gunman, believed to have had a 9mm pistol and what looked like a butcher knife, made no demands - aside from food and drink - during the standoff. In the evening, he asked for six pepperoni pizzas and two six-packs of soft drinks, which police delivered.

The gunman claimed to be a member of al-Qaida, and Williamson said that although authorities had no reason to believe the claim, the FBI had been called in. Justice Department officials in Washington also said they had no evidence that the gunman was a member of the terrorist organization.

Authorities said Kilpatrick, of Memphis, was staying with his sister in Dyersburg. In the suicide note, left at his sister's house, he also said he didn't like Americans and had spoken with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Williamson said.

Kilpatrick faced criminal charges of assault and kidnapping in another case, Dyersburg police spokesman Charles Maxey said. He had no details but said Kilpatrick had been scheduled to appear in a Memphis courtroom Wednesday.

Williamson said there were 12 to 16 people in the basic math classroom when the standoff began. About three hours later, three students were released - all women, one of whom was pregnant. The teacher remained in the classroom.

Officers communicated with the gunman through student hostages on their cell phones, but Kilpatrick wouldn't speak directly to police, Williamson said.

Police said Kilpatrick was not a student or college employee. They talked to his sister at the scene, but the gunman wouldn't talk to her, Williamson said.

A SWAT team and about five hostage negotiators were among the officers called to the scene.






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