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Georgia murder suspect surrenders, hostages freed

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A man suspected of killing one police officer and wounding another in Athens, Georgia, surrendered to police and also freed at least four hostages he was holding in a home there on Friday.

The suspect, Jamie Hood, 33, was shown in custody handcuffed and shirtless as he surrendered on live local television, which he had demanded as a condition for turning himself in, local media said.

"The situation has ended," 11Alive News TV reporter Doug Richards said at the scene at about 11:20 p.m.

Negotiations for Hood's surrender lasted about seven hours. Dozens of armed law enforcement officers surrounded the home and they emerged with Hood along with four women and one man.

At least four of those were hostages, local media said.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper, Hood was concerned for his safety because his brother was shot dead by police in 2001 after he held a gun to an officer's head.

"I know that he is concerned with his personal safety. And I want to promise him that if he will surrender unarmed that he will not be harmed in any form or fashion," Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, had told reporters earlier.

Police said Hood on Tuesday afternoon killed Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and wounded officer Tony Howard.

Hood opened fire after officers stopped him while investigating a carjacking, police said.

Friday marked the fourth day of searching for Hood. Earlier in the day, Athens-Clarke County Police posted messages on Facebook and Twitter asking Hood to turn himself in.

Local media had reported that Hood held eight hostages in the apartment after being cornered by police. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., Hood released two men and two children.

Athens is about 60 miles east of Atlanta and home to the University of Georgia.

(Reporting by David Beasley and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton and Peter Bohan)

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