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Breaking News

Police Say Santa Monica Hostage Situation Contained

Aired July 4, 2000 - 8:49 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you now on the story we've been following all morning, the apparent hostage situation taking place on Santa Monica Pier out in California.

Our Jim Hill is on the scene and he is now joining us live.

Jim, what have you learned?

JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, Santa Monica police, as well as hostage negotiators from the department, are at the Santa Monica Pier, which you can see behind me here. This is west of downtown Los Angeles, a coastal community, of course. They are trying to talk an armed man out of a hostage situation. The suspect, believed to be armed with at least one handgun is holding anywhere from four to six people hostage in the arcade section of the pier.

Now earlier this morning, shortly after 1:00, all of this began to unfold when police say they confronted two men who were suspects or linked to a triple homicide in nearby San Bernardino County. Now according to police, the first suspect surrendered without incident and two handguns were taken from him. However, the second suspect, according to police, opened fire, wounding three police officers as well as one civilian on the pier.

Now police say they believe none of those wounded people are in a life threatening situation at this point and have been treated at local hospitals. However, the gunmen retreated to the Arcade section, took as many as 13 or 14 people hostage at that time. Now we're told nine of those people have been released. That leaves four to six people still being held hostage by this gunmen.

Now, authorities are saying that at this point they believe they have stabilized the situation in terms of establishing contact with the gunman. Negotiators are apparently speaking with the man. They describe his condition as stable under the circumstances. And are trying, of course, to talk him out of this situation or to get him to release the other hostages; as I say, between four and six hostages who are still being held by this gunmen in the arcade section, the Playland section, as they call it, of the Santa Monica Pier, which you can see behind me here.

A great deal of media in this area. A lot of police and fire vehicles, the SWAT team and so forth. They believe they have contained this situation and have isolated the suspect as well as the hostages. But, of course, because this man is a suspect in a triple homicide, because police say this man opened fire and wounded four people, it is still a very tense situation -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, Jim Hill reporting live this morning from Santa Monica, there on the pier where that hostage situation is playing out. We want to thank our affiliate, KTLA, for providing these photos.

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