People evacuated by Pittsburgh police from the Gateway Three office building… (Keith Srakocic / AP Photo )
The man holding a hostage in a Pittsburgh office building on Friday surrendered to authorities without any violence, police said.
Police Chief Nate Harper announced that the suspect, identified as Klein Michael Thaxton, 22, had turned himself in to authorities and had released his hostage. During the almost six-hour standoff, Thaxton had updated his Facebook page, on which friends had urged him to end the confrontation peacefully.
“The suspect is in custody. The hostage gentleman is safe. No harm came to him,” Harper said at a televised news conference. There was no immediate motive for the incident.
Thaxton was taken to police headquarters for questioning, Harper said. Earlier, Thaxton allegedly had claimed he had a bomb, though that was not confirmed by police officials.
About 8 a.m., Thaxton entered the office building at Three Gateway Center and took the elevator to the 16th floor, where he went into a suite of offices. The offices were occupied by CW Breitsman Associates, LLC, which administers other companies’ insurance and benefit plans.
The hostage was identified by police as Charles Breitsman.
Harper credited police negotiators with ending the standoff peacefully. “They were very successful in keeping the lines of communication open,” he told reporters.
Thaxton was described by the police chief as a man with some military experience. During his time in the office building, he posted to Facebook that people will “never have to worry about me again.” Before his page was closed down by Facebook, he also wrote that he had lost everything.
Friends urged him to be peaceful and to think of his mother, who went to the office building to talk to her son. She said she did not know why her son had taken a hostage.
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