Indiana real estate office’s hostage situation
According to Fox News and the NWI Times1, the FBI is in contact with a gunman inside of a Prudential Executive Group Real Estate’s offices in Valparaiso, Indiana. The police have not released the number of people being held hostage, and it is being reported that the area has been evacuated and police have the offices surrounded and are positioned with guns drawn behind cars and buildings outside of the offices.
The situation began at 10am on Friday, Valparaiso Police Sgt. Mike Grennes told NWI Times, and officers responded to reports of shots fired inside the building. Porter County SWAT team members arrived at roughly 11am, and FBI agents entered the building just after noon.
Police report that they believe they know who the gunman is but are not releasing his name, and Fox News sources say it is not an employee, but possibly a domestic situation.
Fox News has just reported that police are in contact with the gunman, and demands are unclear, but a good sign is that there are no reports of injuries and no ambulances are on the scene. Two men left the building around 11:30am unharmed, and one woman exited the building unharmed at 12:40pm. It remains unclear as to what the connection is of the five people to the situation.
NWI Times reports that by noon, representatives of the FBI, Indiana State Police, Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Valparaiso University police and Chesterton Police Department were at the scene assisting.
A representative for Valparaiso Community Schools confirmed with the NWI Times that Flint Lake Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School are all on a modified lock down in response to the situation.
This story is ongoing and we will offer more as it breaks; keep reading AGBeat for more.
- 3:33pm Sgt. Grennes now says the man is holding people hostage because he believes someone there owes him money.
- Grennes also notes now that officers exchanged shots with the gunman when they arrived.
- 3:53pm Sources close to the situation tell AGBeat that although unconfirmed, they believe only three people are left inside the building and that the gunman is an ex-customer who is disgruntled, but no one is clear as to with whom he is upset or why.
- Sources tell us the dispute is personal, not real estate-related.
- 4:42pm NWI Times reports that all of the hostages who were being held at a real estate office here have been released.
- The gunman is still in the building and is communicating with the FBI.
- Prudential Office controller Carolyn Biesen tells NWI that this morning, there was a woman injured, and our sources close to the situation say the woman that was released from the building this morning had sustained a head injury.
- 5:27pm It is being reported that two large blasts were heard at the scene before a window was shattered. Police have entered the building, but it remains unclear as to the status of the gunman.
- 5:42pm Police now say that the gunman has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.
- 9:11pm Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris has confirmed the death of gunman Roy L. Ferguson, 48, of Texas. The dispute at the center of the hostage situation is still unknown.