February 24, 2006

Gunman surrenders, Phoenix hostage standoff ends

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A gunman who had taken nine hostages
surrendered after a seven-hour standoff on Thursday at a
National Labor Relations Board office in a central Phoenix
high-rise building, police said.

No shots were fired in the standoff that began when the
man, identified by police as George Curran, 42, apparently
pulled out a weapon and took the nine hostage on Thursday
afternoon on the 18th floor of the building.

"No one's hurt. It's a good thing," said Sgt. Andy Hill, a
Phoenix police spokesman.

"Apparently he did decide to surrender, so he gave himself
up and in that way allowed himself to be taken into custody,"
Hill said.

Before the gunman surrendered, one female hostage fled when
he allowed her to leave to go to the bathroom and another woman
was released.

Hill said there was a judge among the hostages.

A heavy police presence surrounded the building in the
heart of the city's main business thoroughfare and several fire
units were present.

The incident apparently began when the suspect entered an
NLRB hearing.

"There has been a family situation ongoing apparently
related to employment," Hill said of the suspect. "For whatever
reason, today he chose that time to go into the NLRB hearing
and that's where this started."