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At least one dead in St. Joseph hostage shooting

9:56 AM, Aug 14, 2013   |    comments
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ST. JOSEPH, La. -- One man is dead and two other people are in critical condition after a standoff lasting more than 12 hours ended violently early Wednesday morning at Tensas State Bank.

Around midnight, SWAT officers with Louisiana State Police moved in on 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed, who held two people hostage at the bank, after Ahmed threatened to kill them. The officers dropped a flash grenade, and at that point, the gunman shot the two hostages. In return, the SWAT officers shot and killed the gunman.

A third hostage, identified as Patricia Davis, was released unharmed Tuesday evening.

The two wounded hostages, a male and a female, and Davis were employees of the bank. The male victim was rushed to Rapides Medical Center and the female victim was sent to a hospital in Concordia, according to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson.

Both suffered gunshot wounds to the upper body and are fighting for their lives.

"We believe at least one is alive. Both had something, one a little more than the other," Edmonson said.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Edmonson said Ahmed was a paranoid schizophrenic. A note about the attack and a book about hostage negotiations, as well as other planning materials, were discovered at his residence.

Edmonson said Ahmed planned the attack, and around midnight, he told police he was going to kill the hostages. State police then gave the order to initiate the raid.

"This is certainly not the way I wanted this to end, but I believe his mind was set from the beginning," Edmonson said.

No troopers were injured in the attack.

Edmonson said a negotiator had spoken with Ahmed throughout the day, but Ahmed often hung up the phone. Robbery is not believed to have been a motive in the attack.

"He was mad at people he said were mean to him," Edmonson said. "He heard voices in his head and wanted a thing in his head removed."

The hostages were shot with a pistol, but Ahmed was also carrying a rifle. The particular make of the firearms were not immediately known by the law enforcement officials nor did they know how many times the victims had been shot.

Police units from throughout the state, as well as the FBI and U.S. Marshals, joined local law enforcement during the standoff. Tensas Parish Sheriff Rick Jones said he believed Ahmed executed his plan as he intended to do from the beginning.

"Our parish now is in mourning," Jones said. "It's a pretty heartbreaking thing."

Tensas Parish has about 5,000 residents, and St. Joseph is a small, rural community of about 1,200 people.

Ahmed's family owns a convenient store in St. Joseph. The family, originally from Yemen, moved to Louisiana from California shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Ahmed entered the Tensas State Bank and took three bank employees hostage.

An FBI negotiator attempted to work with Ahmed as the day unfolded. Around 9 p.m., Ahmed released Davis to police.

Edmonson said Davis helped law enforcement get a better understanding of the situation inside the bank. Around midnight, Ahmed indicated he was going to kill the hostages, which prompted the raid.

"Given the information we had and the breakdown in communication, we don't think there was any other way to bring closure to this mission," Jones said.

NEWS-STAR

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