Honolulu gunman shot by police

Hostage safe as 6-hour standoff ends

February 6, 1996
Web posted at: 8:45 p.m. EST

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- More than six hours after a dramatic hostage situation began, police sharpshooters shot and wounded a man who had kept one end of a sawed off shotgun taped to his hand and the other attached to the neck of a hostage.

The suspect had said the gun was rigged to fire if he was shot, but the hostage suffered only minor cuts to his head and hands when police opened fire.

Both men were taken to a hospital. The condition of the gunman was unclear, but he had been shot in the chest, according to medics.

At about 7:30 p.m. EST, out of the range of news cameras, about six shots rang out and ambulances converged on the parking lot of the office where the suspect once worked and had held the hostage for about seven hours.

At one point, the sharpshooters came within inches of the gunman, who had identified himself as John Miranda, a former employee of Seal Masters, a company that makes sealers for concrete products.

The situation began inside Seal Masters about 1:30 p.m. EST, when Miranda allegedly took five people hostage. Witnesses and members of his family said Miranda had worked at the company but had been fired recently.

The gunman let three people go unharmed, but another hostage was shot in the leg while exiting the building from a window about 15 feet off the ground. It was unclear whether the hostage was trying to escape or was pushed out the window.

That hostage, identified by people on the scene as a supervisor named Guy George, was taken to the hospital and was listed in critical condition.

Local TV cameras captured George in the window with a gun to his head and then falling, his leg bleeding, from the window.

The gunman's brother said he thought George was the vice president of the company.

Donald Rodriguez told a local radio station his brother had "no job, no money, no house, a kid ... what do you expect somebody to do?" He pleaded with police to let him talk to his brother, but they refused.

When the shots rang out, news cameras showed Rodriguez trying to get to his brother. He was tackled and taken away by police.

The gunman held the hostage on the outside stairs for a while before coming down into parking lot, where he came within inches of police SWAT teams and sharpshooters. After a few minutes, he and the hostage went back and sat on the stairs.

The company is housed in the McKesson building, along with about 20 other businesses, all of which were evacuated. The building is in an industrial district near Honolulu International Airport.



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