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Hostage standoff at US post office ends


Washington : An eight-hour hostage standoff at a post office in the eastern US state of Virginia ended late Wednesday after an armed man in a wheelchair was taken into custody.

The man entered the post office in Wytheville, a small town in south-western Virginia, late in the afternoon, pushing a wheelchair and firing one shot, Mayor Trent Crewe told the broadcaster CNN.

Officials initially said he had taken five people hostage, but two postal workers managed to escape as the drama unfolded.

No one was injured, and police couldn’t say what the disabled man’s motive was.

The man was believed to have plastic explosives strapped to his wheelchair. There were also reports that he had grenades in his vehicle.

“The police have told me they are acting on the assumption there is an explosive device of some kind in some location,” Crewe told CNN, adding that bomb squads were present at the site as well as FBI negotiators.

The suspect did not identify himself but told police he has a military background.

He asked for pizza but made no other demands, US Postal Inspection Service spokesman Peter Rendina said.

Wytheville has a population of just over 8,000.