Gunman takes hostages, throws grenades in standoff with police in S. Taiwan

Man persuaded to surrender peacefully, no one hurt in five hour standoff

Cache of weapons found after stand-off, Aug. 28 (Photo from Chiayi Reporters Association)

Cache of weapons found after stand-off, Aug. 28 (Photo from Chiayi Reporters Association)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In Chiayi County’s Minxiong Township (民雄鄉) on Friday (Aug. 30), a burst of gunfire startled local residents at around 8:00 a.m. in the morning, sparking a standoff between a gunman and police that lasted nearly five hours.

Police were immediately dispatched to the neighborhood on section two of Jianguo Rd. (建國路), where they blocked off traffic and surrounded the residential building where the shooter was firing shots from an upper floor and had reportedly taken some tenants hostage. Local residents were startled by the sudden heavy police presence and sporadic gunfire.

The situation was reported to police after a tenant, surnamed Wu (吳), was confronted and threatened by the suspect, who was carrying a long gun and bullets in his hand. The gunman reportedly lives on the third floor of the building and had been acting erratically this morning before he decided to hold several people hostage for an unknown reason.

Wu fled the scene while the man was firing his weapon at a nearby iron structure, reports UDN. Many residents reported seeing smoke and hearing explosions this morning. The shooter reportedly fired several bursts every ten minutes or so.

Chiayi County Police Chief Liao Zong-shan (廖宗山) was on the scene Friday morning, commanding officers to surround the gunman and to ensure public safety. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the standoff, which ended when the man surrendered to police shortly after 1:00 p.m. The gunman has been identified as a 40-year-old man surnamed Chen (陳) who was already wanted by police for suspected murder and other crimes related to gang activity, reports SETN.

Police convene near residence of gunman Thursday morning (CNA photo)

After Chen was peacefully disarmed, police discovered the man had a large cache of firearms and ammunition, and even a hand grenade remaining from the grenades he had been throwing from the third floor during the standoff. The police chief decided not to rush the building because the suspect clearly had explosive devices and an unknown amount of ammunition. In order to avoid any casualties, police contacted friends of Chen and were able to convince them to negotiate with him on their behalf.

Chen’s friends entered the residence shortly after 1:00 p.m. and were able to persuade him to surrender by 1:20 p.m. After his arrest, police discovered 13 firearms in his possession including those inside his vehicle and at his residence. Seized weapons included a submachine gun, a shotgun, 11 handguns, several large knives, and a single grenade. Chen reportedly detonated 13 grenades throughout the course of the standoff, reports SETN.

CNA reports that police did not fire a single shot throughout the day. They are now investigating how the man obtained the cache of illegal weapons.