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Police storm building after Indiana gunman frees hostages, fatally shoots himself

Law enforcement officials advance on the building in Valparaiso, Ind., where a gunman was holding an unknown number of hostages Friday.
Law enforcement officials advance on the building in Valparaiso, Ind., where a gunman was holding an unknown number of hostages Friday.Jon L. Hendricks | The Times of Northwest Indiana

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET : Police tactical officers stormed into an office building in Valparaiso, Ind., late Friday afternoon shortly after a gunman released the last of his several hostages. The man shot himself twice in the head and died later at a hospital, police said.

Two gunshots were heard, and tactical officers ran into the building through a shattered window. An ambulance then drove up to the building, and a cheer went up from the crowd gathered outside as someone — presumably the gunman — was brought out on a stetcher.

Valparaiso police said the gunman, later identified as Roy Ferguson, was taken from the scene with critical injuries. He died about two hours later, police said.

It was a quick resolution to a tense situation that had played out slowly for much of the day. The gunman had incrementally released his hostages over six hours before freeing his final two captives late in the afternoon.

Neither of the last two hostages was injured, authorities said. Earlier, a woman was freed and was treated at a hospital for a blunt force head wound, and a second woman was driven away in an ambulance after walking free. Valparaiso police Sgt. Mike Grennes said the woman with the head injury may have been struck by the gunman.

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The man showed up about 11 a.m. ET at the offices of 21st Century Real Estate in the Prudential office building in Valparaiso, which is just south of Chicago. Fewer than 10 people were believed to have been inside when the gunman arrived.

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Grennes corroborated witnesses' accounts that the man asked for a particular agent who he said owed him some money.

The office controller, Carolyn Biesen, told The Times of Northwest Indiana, a local newspaper, that she stepped out of her office to find a man standing over an injured female co-worker.

The man had a gun, but "he did not point it at me," Biesen said. "He pointed it up, showing us he had a gun."

Biesen said she heard the man fire two shots after she fled back to her office and later heard a series of shots believed to have been fired by police.

Grennes confirmed that there was an exchange of gunfire when officers first arrived on the scene.

Here's how the story unfolded in real time:

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