By Jason Hanna
ATLANTA — A man who held at least two hostages at an Atlanta-area bank Friday is dead, apparently killed by police who entered the bank to try to rescue the hostages, Cobb County police Chief Michael Register said.
Everyone who’d been held inside the Wells Fargo bank branch off Windy Hill Road near Marietta is OK, Register said.
The man, who claimed to have had a bomb, was holding at least two people in the bank just off Interstate 75 northwest of Atlanta when police entered the building Friday afternoon, Register said.
“(The suspect’s death) is not something that we want to happen, but unfortunately to preserve life, sometimes it becomes necessary,” he said.
When Register announced the suspect’s death around 1:45 p.m. ET, he said nearby buildings were still on lockdown because investigators were trying to determine whether a bomb was in the bank.
Police also were trying to identify the man, Register said.
Man called TV station, said he was Marine veteran
The hostage-taker called police around 9:30 a.m. ET to say he was at the bank and “made general threats,” Cobb County police spokeswoman Alicia Chilton said.
He claimed to have a bomb and was holding at least two people in the building, FBI spokesman Steve Emmett said.
Police arrived outside the bank and closed several nearby roads.
A man claiming to be the hostage-taker called CNN affiliate WSB-TV around 10:30 a.m. ET. He talked to one of the station’s assignment editors on the phone for more than 30 minutes, discussing his life and making demands, WSB reported.
The man said he was a homeless Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq with a supply company, and had no money for food, WSB reported.
There was conflicting information about what happened next. Shortly after noon, Cobb County police spokesman Dana Pierce said everyone who’d been in the bank with the man were released unharmed. The suspect remained inside, and police were trying to determine what was happening in the bank, Pierce said.
But Register, the police chief, announced later Friday that police had entered the building to try to rescue two hostages, leading to the suspect’s death.
“We felt that there was a window of opportunity to get the two hostages out, and certainly we took that opportunity … based on the danger we believe they were in,” Register said.
A nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant was one of the establishments on lockdown because of the situation at the bank, manager Hailey Vines said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the title of Cobb County police Chief Michael Register.
CNN’s MaryLynn Ryan, Tony Marco and Justin Gamble contributed to this report.