Three hospital workers taken hostage at gunpoint

A gun-toting former army soldier seeking help for mental problems took three workers at a Georgia military hospital hostage at gunpoint Monday before authorities persuaded him to surrender peacefully, the Associated Press reports.

No one was hurt and no shots were fired in the nearly 2-hour-long standoff at Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, about 40 miles southwest of Savannah, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson told the AP. The hostages calmed the gunman and kept him away from patients until he surrendered.

The former soldier entered the Winn Army Community Hospital at about 4 a.m., demanding care, according to CNN. He was carrying two handguns, a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic version of a submachine gun, and immediately took one hostage.

On the third floor, which houses the behavioral health unit, he held two more people at gunpoint, including a psychiatric nurse, the AP reports. A behavioral health technician refused to let the gunman through a locked door to the patient area.

The nurse managed to calm the man. After negotiations with authorities, the man eventually surrendered to military police and was taken into custody for questioning Monday afternoon, Larson said. The gunman's name was not immediately released.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, a senior Fort Stewart commander, said the former soldier was seeking help for mental problems that were likely linked to his past service. "He hadn't gotten the care that he wanted and he wanted it now," Phillips said. "He'd had some experiences that could lead one to believe there were aftereffects to his service."

Because the suspect is a civilian and the standoff involved hostages on a federal installation, the FBI was called in to help with the investigation.

Fort Stewart, the largest Army post east of the Mississippi River, is home to the 3rd Infantry Division. Most of the division's 19,000 soldiers are deployed to Iraq.

To learn more:
- read the Associated Press article
- here's the CNN article
- see the All Headline News article