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Financial crises for man who held firefighters hostage

  • This Thursday, April 11, 2013 photo shows a home damaged during a hostage standoff in Suwanee, Ga. A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)

    This Thursday, April 11, 2013 photo shows a home damaged during a hostage standoff in Suwanee, Ga. A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)

  • A police officer leaves the scene after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013 in Suwanee, Ga. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostage suffered serious injuries.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

    A police officer leaves the scene after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013 in Suwanee, Ga. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostage suffered serious injuries. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

  • An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostages suffered serious injuries. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

    An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostages suffered serious injuries. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

  • An investigator arrives at a damaged home in Suwanee, Ga. on Thursday, April 11, 2013 after Wednesday's hostage standoff.  A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)

    An investigator arrives at a damaged home in Suwanee, Ga. on Thursday, April 11, 2013 after Wednesday's hostage standoff. A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)

  • This Thursday, April 11, 2013 photo shows a home damaged during a hostage standoff in Suwanee, Ga. A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)
  • A police officer leaves the scene after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013 in Suwanee, Ga. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostage suffered serious injuries.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
  • An EMT works in the back of an ambulance as it leaves an Suwanee, Ga., subdivision after an explosion and gunshots were heard near the scene where a man was holding four firefighters hostage Wednesday, April 10, 2013. A police spokesman said the suspect was dead and none of the hostages suffered serious injuries. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
  • An investigator arrives at a damaged home in Suwanee, Ga. on Thursday, April 11, 2013 after Wednesday's hostage standoff.  A man held four Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours before they where freed when police officers stormed the house Wednesday. Authorities said the firefighters encountered an armed man who demanded that his cable and power be turned back on at the house, which was in foreclosure. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)

A gunman who lured firefighters to his Georgia home with an emergency call, then held four of them hostage for hours before being shot to death, faced a series of personal and financial calamities before he lashed out violently at the rescue crew.

Lauren Brown’s life apparently reached a crisis this spring. With his power, cable and other utilities cut off because of nonpayment, the 55-year-old had a half-dozen guns in his house and spent weeks planning the kidnapping, targeting firefighters Wednesday so he wouldn’t be shot, authorities said yesterday.

The specific reasons he chose to lash out aren’t known, but Brown had separated from his wife, though he still lived across the street from her, her new husband and his two children, according to neighbors and people who knew the family.

Brown had worked as a consultant for IBM in 1999, but described himself as disabled when he filed for bankruptcy protection three years later, according to court documents. He said he owed more than $100,000 to the Home Depot, banks and credit card companies.

Brown called 911 and said he was suffering from chest pains, and five Gwinnett County firefighters arrived at 3:48 p.m., believing it was a routine call, said police Chief Charles Walters. Brown was lying in bed and appeared to be suffering from a condition that left him unable to move. But when they approached the bed to help him, he pulled out a handgun, Walters said.

He let one go to move the vehicles from the front of his house but kept the other four.

That began a 3½-hour standoff. At about 7:30, the police were convinced that even if they met Brown’s demands, he had no intention of releasing his hostages, Walters said.

Brown had requested items from a fast-food seafood restaurant for himself and his hostages, and a SWAT officer carrying the food approached the house in Suwannee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Other SWAT members set off a stun blast to distract Brown and stormed the house. Brown opened fire on the first officer as he entered the bedroom. The officer was hit in the left arm by one of the shots, but managed to return fire, killing Brown.

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