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Armed’ Man Seizes Berlin Crane Prompting 13-Hour Police Standoff

MAINZ, Germany - Police were locked in a standoff for more than 13 hours Friday after a man took control of a 300-foot crane outside a hospital and claimed he had a gun. The 39-year-old climbed into the cabin of the construction crane in the center of the capital Berlin at 11 p.m. Thursday (5 p.m. ET), police told NBC News. He was demanding to speak to his relatives and lawyer. "The man claims he is armed, which we cannot confirm, but protectively, we have widely cordoned off the area and evacuated a nearby elementary school," police spokesman Stefan Petersen said.

Local media said that the man had climbed the hospital roof and another crane in 2006, although NBC News could not confirm the report. Nearly 100 officers were on scene at the Charité hospital in the center of the city, police said, causing severe delays in the morning traffic. Specialists were negotiating with the man by phone.

- Andy Eckardt