Police: Ga. suspect releases 4 hostages
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - March 25, 2011 (WPVI) -- The man charged in the shooting death of a Georgia police officer surrendered on live TV late Friday after he emerged from an Athens apartment surrounded by several people whom police say he was holding captive.
Jamie Hood, 33, emerged shirtless and with five other people, all holding their hands in the air. Officers in green fatigues with high-powered guns swarmed Hood, patted him down and ordered him to the ground. The tattooed, head-shaven Hood was not armed and did not resist police.
Hood turned himself in after Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan went before TV cameras and promised that Hood wouldn't be hurt if he gave himself up unarmed and freed the hostages.
Police had been searching for Hood since Tuesday, when Athens Clarke-County police officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian was shot and killed while police say he attempted to apprehend Hood. Another officer, Tony Howard, was shot in the face and upper body, and is recovering from his wounds.
Hood's family members and residents of the apartment complex, which sits in a neighborhood just off a busy road, gathered to watch the hostage situation unfold. Hood's relatives seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when Hood emerged peacefully.
"I'm just very sorry this all had to happen," said Hood's sister, Jennifer Hood.
Those who emerged with Hood were led away by officers.
The four-day manhunt led authorities to a range of locations around Athens-Clarke County as they received a flurry of tips about where he might be hiding. Officers descended on an area in east Athens, surrounding an apartment complex and barricading nearby roads.
After hours of negotiations, Hood agreed around 9 p.m. to give up what police said were four of eight hostages, which authorities saw as a good sign.
The search began after authorities stopped Howard while he was in an SUV in West Athens around 1 p.m. Tuesday, seeking to question him in connection with a carjacking and kidnapping.
The vehicle's driver was arrested, but police say Hood got out of the vehicle and shot and wounded Howard, striking him in the face and the upper body. He then fatally shot Christian while he was still sitting in his patrol car, authorities said.
Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin called the shooting a police ambush. Lumpkin said this week he hoped a $50,000 reward would inspire someone to come forward, calling Hood a "career criminal" who has associates in the city's murky criminal world.
Police are expecting thousands of people to attend Sunday's funeral for Christian, who was an 8-year veteran of the Athens police department. Christian, 34, was married with two young children.
Friday evening, a crowd of residents and onlookers gathered at a nearby church and gas station to monitor the hostage situation. Several of Hood's relatives waited for updates and prayed it would end without bloodshed.
Hood, who police describe as a "career criminal," was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1997 on armed robbery charges and was released in 2009. In 2001, while Hood was serving time, his 22-year-old brother Timothy Hood was shot and killed by an Athens police officer. Investigators said at the time that Timothy Hood pulled a gun on an officer, and was shot and killed when the weapon jammed.
Television cameras trained at the apartment's door showed him emerging along with the hostages around 11:15 p.m. He was later led to a police car, where TV cameras showed him talking to someone.
Jennifer Hood said her brother coached a children's football team and played sports in high school, and that he never missed a family event. She said he tried to visit her Tuesday morning, hours before the shooting, but they were never able to meet.
"I wish there had been something I could have said or done," she said.
georgia, shooting, hostage, national/world
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