Man held after Virginia gun siege

A disabled man was in custody today after a gunman who took several hostages at a rural post office in Virginia finally surrendered.

The hostages' ordeal ended when police who had surrounded the post office in Wytheville ordered the suspect to let the hostages go and come out with his hands up.



Soon after, four people, including a man in a wheelchair, left the building.



State police Sgt Michael Conroy said the disabled man was the suspected gunman.



Earlier, police said the man holding the hostages had entered the building pushing a wheelchair.



Shots were fired earlier, but there were no reports of injuries. Relatives said the hostages have been able to contact them by phone.



The suspect, said to have been missing part of his leg, was being searched by police.



Authorities had been negotiating with the suspect to release the hostages, who had been held since mid-afternoon local time yesterday.



Wytheville is a town of about 8,500 in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.



The suspect made no demands other than to ask for a pizza, said Pete Rendina of the US Postal Inspection Service.



An officer delivered food and drink to the front door of the post office at the request of the suspect, state police said.



Virginia State Police sent in SWAT and a bomb technician. Police told the Wytheville Enterprise the man had what appeared to be five pounds of a common plastic explosive strapped to his chest.



Susan Holman, manager of a store across the street, said officers told employees to leave the building because there was a man with what appeared to be explosives in the post office.



"The officer told us the man had enough explosives to take out the whole block," Ms Holman told the Enterprise.



Carlton Austin said his daughter, postal worker Margie Austin, was among the hostages. She managed to call a family friend and say she was fine.



Niki Oliver told the Enterprise that her brother, Jimmy was one of the hostages and had been able to phone family members.



"We love you," she yelled to him as his mother was speaking to him on the phone.



Niki Oliver said her brother went to the post office to send a Christmas gift to his son.



Postal worker Walt Korndoerfer said he was in the post office when he heard shots and a co-worker ran past. He called police and then ran himself.



His wife Christine said he called to tell her he had got out safely.



"My husband is not one to get upset," she said. "When he called, I don't think I've ever heard him so upset."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project