Georgia murder suspect holds hostages, in negotiations

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 25, 2011 11:29 PM
Georgia murder suspect holds hostages, in negotiations

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A man suspected of killing one police officer and wounding another in Athens, Georgia, earlier this week was holding hostages in an apartment there on Friday, according to police.

Local media said at least three hostages were being held after several had been released.

Authorities were negotiating with the suspect, Jamie Hood, 33, Atlanta's WSB television station said.

"They are working with the situation right now," a police dispatcher who declined to be identified told Reuters.

"This is a very tense situation, but we have a commitment for the safe release of the people inside," Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said during a an earlier news conference, WSB reported.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m., Hood released two men and two children from the apartment, the Athens Banner-Herald reported on its website, saying at least three hostages remained.

Reports earlier had said Hood held eight hostages.

Police said Hood killed Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and wounded officer Tony Howard on Tuesday afternoon.

Hood opened fire after police stopped him while investigating a carjacking, according to police.

Friday marked the fourth day of searching for Hood. Earlier in the day, Athens-Clarke County Police posted messages on Facebook and Twitter asking Hood to turn himself in.

Athens is about 60 miles east of Atlanta and home to the University of Georgia.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Jerry Norton)