Gunman Holding Firemen Hostage Killed Over Foreclosure, Utility Bill

Patrick Frye - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 1:05 a.m. ET

The gunman holding firemen hostage in Georgia was shot and killed by SWAT teams.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, four firefighters were being held hostage by a gunman in Suwanee, Georgia.

The firefighters were responding to a medical call at a home near Atlanta when an unidentified man pulled out a gun. The man initially took five firefighters hostage but eventually let one man go so that he could bring the fire truck back to the station.

At the time police officers said they had a “good idea why” the gunman was holding the firefighters hostage but declined to elaborate to the press. It turns out that the firefighters were not being held hostage for ransom per se.

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The gunman, 62-year-old William Spengler, simply could not afford to pay his bills, his house was in foreclosure, and he wanted his power and utilities turned back on. But before you feel too sorry for the gunman, Spengler served 17 years in prison for beating his grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980.

The SWAT team lit off a stun blast that shook the neighborhood, setting off car alarms. Police officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect and a SWAT member was shot in the hand or arm. The gunman’s firemen hostages had cuts and bruises from explosions, but the gunman killed himself after the shooting spree ended.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter explains why they made the decision to storm the house:

“The explosion you heard was used to distract the suspect, to get into the house and take care of business. It’s an unfortunate circumstance we did not want this to end this way. But with the decisions this guy was making, this was his demise.”

The police sent the SWAT team in to “get control of the situation,” but unfortunately these events caused seven homes nearby to be destroyed.


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