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Santa Monica Gunman Releases One More HostageAired July 4, 2000 - 9:01 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: But first, though, we want to start with a situation still developing at this hour in Southern California, hostage situation unfolding in Santa Monica. Police say a gunman is holding several hostages in the Playland arcade at the Santa Monica Pier. Officers say he's already shot and wounded at least four people.
CNN's Jim Hill, fresh on the scene there, now joins us live with the latest from there.
Jim, with the sun coming up, what do we know?
JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, right now it is a static situation, has been for several hours now. A gunmen believed to be armed with at least one handgun is holding four to six people hostage in the Playland section of the arcade on the Santa Monica Pier that you can see behind me. Santa Monica being a beach community just west of Los Angeles.
Authorities say that they have stabilized the situation, they have established contact apparently with the gunman. And they are negotiating for the release of the hostages and the eventual surrender, they hope, of the gunman.
Now all of this began unfolding about 1:00 or shortly thereafter, west coast time this morning. Authorities say they learned that there were two suspects linked to triple homicide in San Bernardino, a nearby county here, on the Santa Monica Pier. At that point they surrounded the man, one man surrendered, two handguns were recovered from him. However, authorities say the second suspect ran from the area firing shots at authorities as he went. There were three people wounded, three of them law enforcement officers. Shortly after that a civilian was wounded, also. We're told none of those people are in a life threatening situation, but those four people were in fact wounded.
The suspect then ran into the arcade area, took at least 13 people hostage, shortly after that he released nine of them. As police arrived on the scene, those people were taken into a safe area. However, four people, five people, perhaps even six people, authorities believe, are still being held hostage by this particular gunman.
Now at this point it is a tense situation although it is relatively stable. Authorities point out this man is a suspect in a triple homicide. They also point out that he has shot and wounded four people so far. And they are trying, as I say, to talk him out of this situation, to get him to release those hostages and ultimately to surrender himself.
There's a police SWAT team on the scene, as well as specialists, these hostage negotiators who have apparently established contact with this gunman -- Bill.
HEMMER: Jim, just getting word here, back at CNN, also the Santa Monica police just reporting now that one other hostage apparently has been released. So that will reduce the number we have right now. But again, a tense situation out there in Santa Monica.
Jim Hill live there. Jim, thanks, we'll be back in touch when we get more information.
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