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Standoff at Va. post office ends peacefully

A disabled Tennessee man suspected of firing several shots and taking three people hostage for several hours Wednesday under threat that he had a bomb in a southwest Virginia post office surrendered peacefully after 11 p.m., authorities said.

Warren "Gator" Taylor, of Sullivan County, TN, is alleged to have threatened that he had explosives as he fired shots and pushed a wheelchair through the front door of a post office in downtown Wytheville shortly after 2:30 p.m., authorities said.

Some post office employees and patrons escaped the building as others were cornered and held for more than 8 hours. Late Wednesday, police said all of the hostages appeared to be unharmed and a search of Taylor and his wheelchair produced neither explosives nor a gun. He was taken into federal custody and charges are pending, authorities said.

Bomb squads and local, state and federal authorities from three states had responded to the spectacle in Wytheville, about 30 miles from the North Carolina border.

After nightfall, police said they were hopeful the situation would resolve peacefully when Taylor requested pizza and began talking with negotiators.

- Aaron C. Davis

By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 23, 2009; 11:57 PM ET
 
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