Shots fired, hostage freed in W. Australia ‘man with explosives’ siege

©David Gray
The hostage situation in a park area in Bunbury, Western Australia has ended with police firing several “non-lethal” shots at a man who claimed be in possession of explosives. The man was arrested after the hostage was released.

After a nearly 13-hour standoff, police fired two shots at the 52-year-old hostage taker, Australian media reported. The man was seen kneeling and had his hands up before being arrested.

The hostage had been released by the offender himself some 20 minutes before the dramatic end of the Bunbury siege. The male victim was placed in an ambulance, but later reports confirmed he was unhurt. There was no information immediately available on the condition of his captor.

Earlier, police had confirmed there was a hostage situation in a park near the corner of Koombana Drive in Bunbury.

“Police are aware of the identity of the man at the center of police attention,” the Western Australian police department said on its Twitter. “Concerns are held for the safety of all persons.”

The situation began unfolding at around 8pm local time (12.00 GMT) and ten hours later there were no significant changes with a negotiator trying to talk hostage taker down.

It was believed that the man was in possession of explosive, however this information has not yet been confirmed.

Local media report the hostage taker was sitting cross-legged next to the hostage, who was lying face down on the ground.

The man appeared to have erected a sign with a message to law enforcement officials on a car parked near the Koombana Drive bridge. The sign said: "Release Batty Archibald CCC Report".

The Bunbury Mail newspaper says a sniper was locked on to the hostage taker, who was reportedly speaking on the mobile phone.

A Tactical Response Team was deployed to attend the siege situation, Nine News Australia reported.

Snipershad arrived at the area, according to local reporters tweeting from the scene. Dog squads, firefighters and ambulances were also in attendance.

Residents were warned to avoid the area, which is not far from a popular fishing spot and the Grand Cinemas in Bunbury.

Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia with a population over 68,000 people. It is located about 175 kilometers south-west of Perth.

The Bunbury incident follows a Perth siege in June in which five people were taken hostage by a man allegedly wielding a gun. Police freed the hostages after shooting at the 26-year old assailant, critically injuring him.

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