COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The man who held two people hostage in Cobb County Friday called Channel 2 Action News during the incident claiming he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
The suspect held two people hostage for hours at a Wells Fargo branch claiming he had a bomb. He later died.
Veteran assignment editor Stephanie Steiger spoke to the man for the better part of 45 minutes.
During the conversation, the suspect identified himself to us as Brian Easley and told us his story of a life he couldn’t quite get on track after a 4-year stint in the military.
“I went back to a warehouse job for a little while and I went to school for a bit. I even went to film school for a bit,” he said.
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Easley told us he was a Marine with an 8-year-old daughter who was frustrated with the VA because they took away his almost $900 a month disability payment, money he said he desperately needed.
“I’m just going to be out on the street tomorrow. I have my hotel room tonight, and then tomorrow I have nothing. I’m just going to be out on the street, homeless, no food, no nothing. I don’t have much money left not to survive the rest of tomorrow,” he added that he didn’t want the bank’s money, he just wanted his own.
At one point he put the hostages on the phone so we could verify they were okay.
“He’s being very respectful,” one of the hostages told us.
He told us he was staying away from windows because he wasn’t sure what was waiting for him outside.
“I don’t know if they have snipers set up, or I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if they have SWAT out here, I can’t see that well,” he said.
As our assignment editor spoke to him on the phone, we were sharing that information with police.
"I got the feeling he just wanted somebody to talk to, to try to help out, and we were," Steiger said.
We got a telephone number from him and we were able to give that to hostage negotiators who called as soon as we hung up the phone.
“I felt it was important to talk to him to find out if he was okay, if the hostages were okay,” Steiger said.
Before she hung up the phone, Steiger says Easley made a chilling profession that we now know to be true.
"At one point he said, "Well, I probably won't see my daughter again." I said you can't talk that way," she said.
Cobb County police were able to remove the hostages from the bank, but the suspect remained inside, police announced Friday afternoon.
At around 1 p.m., a robot breached the front door of the bank. Later at a news conference, authorities said "a member of the tactical team may have been responsible for the deceased."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating this as an officer-involved shooting.
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