US hostage-taker shot dead

A gunman claiming to be a member of al-Qaida who held up to 16 people hostage inside a classroom, was killed by police after he began firing his gun.

    Harold Kilpatrick, 26, held up to 16 students and their teacher at gunpoint for more than nine hours on Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee. Police stormed the building after shots rang out around 10:00 pm (2:00 GMT, Thursday).

      

    "Negotiations started and then they broke down and he began to fire. My people went in and took him down. The situation is over," Dyersburg Police Chief Bobby Williamson said, immediately after the gunfire.

      

    Two hostages were injured in the shooting, but it was not clear if they were wounded by police or Kilpatrick, Williamson said.

     

    Unharmed

      

    The wounded students were airlifted to a Memphis hospital, but their injuries were "not life-threatening," he added.

      

    Several hours into the stand-off, Kilpatrick released, unharmed, three female hostages, one of them pregnant, officials said.

      

    But aside from a pitcher of water and 16 glasses, he made no demands and remained holed up in a second-floor classroom at the Dyersburg State Community College.

     

    "Negotiations started and then they broke down and he began to fire. My people went in and took him down. The situation is over"

    Bobby Williamson
    police chief, Dyersburg

    Police crack teams from Dyersburg and nearby Jackson, Tennessee, were called to the college campus shortly before 1:00 p.m. (17:00 GMT Wednesday). The area was immediately sealed off.

      

    Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were called to the college campus later, because of a suicide note in which Kilpatrick stated he was a member of al-Qaida network and planned to shoot several people before taking his own life, McDowell said.

      

    Police believe Kilpatrick, who once attended school in Dyersburg, was visiting his sister, who gave police the suicide note Kilpatrick left at her house.

      

    Throughout the stand-off, Kilpatrick refused to talk to his sister. He was armed with a nine mm handgun and a knife. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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