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January 17, 2006
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U.S. hostage standoff ends with suspects surrendering

The Associated Press

STATESBORO, Georgia -- A former client and another suspect who took an attorney hostage and told authorities they were armed with an explosive device surrendered Tuesday, about 24 hours after the standoff began, police said.

The suspects, a man and a woman, came out of the building where they were holding attorney Michael Hostilo around 9:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), said Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.

The standoff, which started around 9:15 a.m. Monday, ended peacefully, Schnall said.

Hostilo was found unharmed, Police Chief Stan York told reporters at the scene. The condition of the suspects was not immediately known.

A few hours earlier, the standoff briefly erupted into gunfire when the two suspects walked out of the building. At that point, the two had possibly come out to surrender, but they suddenly became apprehensive and made a threatening gesture toward law enforcement officers that prompted an exchange of gunfire, Schnall said.

The two then ran back into the building and authorities resumed negotiations with them. Schnall said he did not know who fired the shots.

Police identified the male suspect as a 43-year-old former client of the lawyer. Authorities did not identify the female suspect. City Manager George Wood said the woman was thought to be man's girlfriend or wife.

In a news conference Monday night, York said the former client was angry about having been convicted in a criminal case in which the lawyer was his court-appointed attorney. York would not elaborate on the couple's demands, saying they only wanted to call attention to the case.






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