Gunman who took hostages in NW Indiana hit by 3 bullets, likely from 2 weapons
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS May 26, 2012 11:23PM
Updated: May 27, 2012 1:42AM
A Texas man who took hostages in a northwestern Indiana realty office and held police at bay for several hours suffered three gunshot wounds before dying, likely from two different weapons, a coroner said Saturday.
Roy L. Ferguson, 48, of Fulshear, Texas, died at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said. That was two hours after the end of the nearly seven-hour standoff at Prudential Executive Group Real Estate office in Valparaiso, about 40 miles southeast of Chicago.
“The likelihood of all three gunshot wounds coming from the same weapon is not good,” Harris said. He said that wouldn’t be confirmed until an autopsy is performed, which hadn’t been scheduled because of Memorial Day weekend.
Valparaiso Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Grennes said Saturday that Ferguson had only one firearm — a handgun. Grennes also said the SWAT officers who rushed inside the office after hearing gunshots at 4:30 p.m. did not fire on Ferguson, but officers exchanged gunfire with Ferguson when the standoff started.
Asked Saturday if police had shot Ferguson, Grennes said, “It’s under investigation.”
Ferguson used to live not far from the office before moving to Texas a couple of years ago. He still owns a white two-story home in the neighborhood that he rents out.
“I’m just surprised, I suppose, and a little bit shocked,” said next-door neighbor Mike Longan. Ferguson was friendly and always waved and said hello, Longan said.
There were fewer than 10 people in the brokerage when Ferguson entered Friday morning, Grennes said.
Accountant Carolyn Biesen was in her office when she heard a commotion near the front desk. Biesen walked out, saw a man standing over an injured co-worker on the ground and yelled at him to leave.
“That’s when he pulled his gun out — and pointed it in the air,” she said late Friday, several hours after she and several other people were taken hostage.
Biesen, 51, locked herself in her office, shoved a file cabinet in front of the door and called 911. Curled up under her desk, she heard two gunshots, then several more in rapid succession.
Ferguson, police said later, was looking for someone he believed owed him money.
Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner said officers believe Ferguson shot himself twice in the head before SWAT members broke windows and stormed inside less than two hours after the last two hostages had been released unharmed.
No hostages reported being shot, though Grennes said one person who was struck in the head was treated and released from a hospital.