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L.A. hostage-taker pronounced dead

A man shot in the head by police as he held a Mexican consulate employee hostage has died, officials said Saturday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man shot in the head by police as he held a Mexican consulate employee hostage has died, officials said Saturday.

Manuel Jubenal Ortiz-Gonzalez, 19, was pronounced dead at 2 p.m. Wednesday after his family decided to take him off life support, said Mario Sainz, an investigator with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

His major organs were harvested after his death, Sainz said.

Ortiz-Gonzalez, originally of Jalisco, Mexico, entered the consulate Tuesday with what appeared to be a pistol and demanded attention from the news media.

Later, he left the building with a pregnant clerk. TV cameras rolled as Ortiz-Gonzalez held a gun to the woman’s head and kept his other arm around her throat.

The woman escaped unharmed after a police officer shot Ortiz-Gonzalez in the head.

The gun Ortiz-Gonzalez was holding turned out to be a starter pistol.

Police said the motive for the incident remained unclear.

“The information that we have is that his demands were to the effect ’Call 911. I want the media here,”’ Bratton said. “Whatever his interests were in his having the media respond to the consulate, we just don’t know at this time.”

Video footage showed the black-clad man, his arm around the woman’s neck, leave a parking lot exit and down a sidewalk as police closed in. The man suddenly collapsed backward to the ground and officers pulled the woman away as others pointed their guns at him.

Ortiz-Gonzalez  had a large homemade sign attached to his body. It was not clear from the videotape what the sign said. Gascon said information about the sign would not be immediately released.

Police cordoned off several blocks around the building near downtown Los Angeles, and ambulances and fire trucks gathered nearby.

No element of terrorism was believed to be involved in the incident, Bratton said. The man was the only person involved in the hostage-taking, Mayor James Hahn said.

The hostage worked as a clerk in the notary department. She was abducted from the consulate’s fourth floor, where some visas are processed. She apparently did not know the hostage-taker, Bratton said.

Maria Rosales Alvarado, 40, said she had given a friend a ride to the consulate and was outside buying tamales when she saw the man holding the woman by the neck.

“I just dropped the tamales, and we got out of there,” she said.