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Ill. SWAT team ends 7-hour standoff at hospital


By Caryn Rosseau
Associated Press

CHICAGO — A gunman who fired one round inside a hospital before barricading himself in the emergency room peacefully surrendered Wednesday morning after about seven hours of negotiations, police said. No one in the hospital was injured.

The standoff began around 2 a.m. after the man walked into the lobby of the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Medical Center and fired a shot, then holed up in an ER exam room, police said. The emergency room was evacuated, but the rest of the hospital, a 205-bed facility on the city's West Side, remained open.

A Chicago Police SWAT team member is seen outside the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Medical Center in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
A Chicago Police SWAT team member is seen outside the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Medical Center in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

"After hours of negotiations, he decided it was in his best interest to surrender," deputy police Chief Wayne Gulliford said. "They talked him out, gave him direction. He followed direction and was peacefully taken into custody."

Police did not identify the man, who had not been charged as of Wednesday afternoon.

Gulliford refused to comment on reports that the man is a suspect in a homicide. In that case, police are investigating the deaths of a couple in their 70s who were found shot to death Tuesday night in their home about 3 1/2 miles away from the hospital.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the couple as Joe Washington, 79, and Johnnie, 77.

Police said they were investigating the shootings as separate incidents.

Neighbors who gathered outside the Washingtons' home on Wednesday said an adult son lived there with the couple.

"They were good parents," said neighbor Steven Thompson, 48, who said he grew up with the family. "They were beautiful people. They didn't deserve this."

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