Police: Suspect is holding hostages in Clinton campaign office in Rochester, N.H. | PostIndependent.com

Police: Suspect is holding hostages in Clinton campaign office in Rochester, N.H.

Police close off the area near the Hillary Clinton campaign office in downtown Rochester, N.H. where a man claiming to have a bomb walked into the office Friday Nov. 30, 2007 and initially took at least four hostages, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/The Portsmouth Herald, Deb Cram)
AP |

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) ” A man claiming to have a bomb walked into a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign office Friday and initially took at least four hostages, police and witnesses said. Three were released.

Clinton was not in the state at the time.

The man entered the office around 1 p.m., ordered people onto the floor and then let a mother and her baby leave, said State Police Maj. Michael Hambrook. The two hostages he kept were volunteers, said Bill Shaheen, a top state campaign official.

About two hours later, a woman in a green sweater was led away from the building by a SWAT team member. Authorities, some carrying shields and guns, had the building surrounded, and laid wiring up to the building’s entrance before the woman was released.

It was not clear if the man made demands, or if the wiring helped authorities communicate with the suspect.

Witness Lettie Tzizik told television station WMUR of Manchester that she spoke to the woman who was released first and that she was crying, holding the infant.

“She said, ‘You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape,” Tzizik said.

Clinton was scheduled to give an address at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Vienna, Va., Friday afternoon, but DNC Chairman Howard Dean announced from the podium that Clinton would not speak.

“We are in close contact with state and local authorities and are acting at their direction,” Clinton said in a statement. “We will release additional details as appropriate.”

Authorities sent a tactical bomb unit to assist local police, and the area was evacuated, Hambrook said. A nearby school was in lockdown.

The small Clinton office is located in the New England community’s downtown area in a strip of several storefronts, and has large glass windows with a campaign sign out front. Police with guns drawn crouched behind cruisers across the street from the office.

Workers for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign office also evacuated, a campaign spokesman said. The office is four doors away from Clinton’s. Staffers in John Edwards’ office, a few buildings away, evacuated as well.

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