Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nicotine saves lives
Calif. Hostage Standoff Ends Peacefully

EXETER, Calif. (AP) -- A 10 1/2-hour bank siege ended early Thursday when police tricked the gunman by giving him cigarettes, then rescued his final hostage, who had been dragged back inside after an unsuccessful dash to safety.

The suspect, identified as 47-year-old Jess Martinez, was taken into custody, police said. The woman, the last of eight hostages held inside the bank, was unharmed, authorities said...

The suspect asked officers to leave a package of cigarettes at the bank door, Douglas said. When he sent the hostage to retrieve them, SWAT officers grabbed her and pulled her to safety, he said. Another group of officers burst into the bank and grabbed Martinez, who gave up without a struggle, he said.

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