A gunman carrying a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols forced his way into the Atlanta FBI office yesterday, taking 10 FBI employes hostage for several hours before he was shot to death, officials said.
A squad of FBI agents and Atlanta police surprised the gunman by approaching through a vent or passageway, according to the Washington office of the FBI.
It is not clear whether the gunman fired, but when he turned toward the approaching officers, he was shot several times. Two FBI employes being held hostage were wounded in their right legs during the shooting, hospital authorities said.
FBI spokesman John Darko said the man, who was identified as Morris E. Roberts Jr., 26, was killed about three hours after he took a guard hostage at the Federal Building and made his way to FBI headquarters on the 10th floor. Authorities did not know his motive.
Roberts, who reportedly worked for the past two years at an Atlanta area golf course, asked that his "chaplain" be brought to him, Darko said, but the address he gave FBI agents apparently was erroneous. After attempts to negotiate by phone with the gunman faile,d the teams of police and FBI sharp-shooters were sent in, Darko said.
Roberts, who his employer said was "very quiet and kind of strange acting [with] a fascination with weapons," was found with three pistols, including that of the building guard, a sawed-off 12-guage shotgun and a machine pistol. After the shooting, nine Atlanta police special weapons officers came out of the building carrying M16 rifles, shotguns, tear gas grenades and wearing bullet-proof vests.