The Pennsylvania military veteran who held a CEO hostage in downtown Pittsburgh today has surrendered and turned himself in to police custody.
"It is over. I feel very good and it's a real blessing that no one was injured and no life was taken," Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper said around 1:50 p.m. today.
The suspect, 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton, had stormed into the offices of CW Breitsman Associates this morning and taken the company's owner, Charles Breitsman, hostage. Thaxton did not work for the company, which handles pension and benefit plans for other companies.
Police were unsure why Thaxton targeted Breitsman. Thaxton's mother, Rhonda, arrived at the office building to speak with police this morning. She told reporters she hoped her son would get the help he needed.
Thaxton told workers that he had a gun and explosives with him when he took Breitsman hostage. One witness said he was carrying a rifle, though police said they did not know what weapons he had with him.
Thaxton, who had a prior criminal record, updated his Facebook profile multiple times throughout the morning, telling his Facebook friends "i cant take it no more i'm done bro" and "how this ends is up to yall bro."
While the negotiations were still underway, Harper had said that Thaxton was "cooperative," although he was actively updating his Facebook page during the negotiations. Harper said the Facebook messages from friends could be "distracting" and "beneficial," according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
"It's beneficial because it shows people care, but it's a distraction to our negotiators," Harper said. "We hope his friends will stop communicating with him."
Thaxton's Facebook page was eventually taken offline.
Police said that SWAT team members had been planning to breach the room where Thaxton was holding Breitsman if Thaxton did not surrender.
"Negotiators talked him into coming out of the office, releasing the hostage person, and he came out and surrendered," Harper said today.
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the situation.
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