Man claiming to have bomb in bank killed in police standoff

Police officers take up positions outside a Wells Fargo Bank in Marietta, Ga., Friday, July 7, 2017, following reports of man claiming to have a bomb inside the bank. Two people who were in the bank made it out safely after a large military-type vehicle smashed its way through a back wall of the bank building. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A man who claimed to have a bomb that could “take out the room” barricaded himself inside a suburban Atlanta bank Friday, sparking an hourslong standoff that forced police to bust through a brick wall of the building and ended when an officer shot and killed the suspect.

Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce confirmed the man died in an “officer involved shooting.” Pierce said a police bomb squad had rendered safe a backpack in which the suspect claimed to have a bomb. Police were still analyzing the contents to determine if the suspect actually had explosives, he said.

Two people were freed shortly after a military-type vehicle smashed its way through the wall, raining bricks onto its hood. However, it’s not clear if they escaped through the wall opening.

Several heavily armed police officers had converged on the bank earlier in the day.

Police had said the man inside the bank branch near Marietta had made threats and was inside with an unknown number of employees.

On Friday night, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified the man as Brian Easley. GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles described the 33-year-old as a transient.

Police had previously limited the amount of information they made public, saying the suspect might be monitoring news coverage and social media, Cobb County police Officer Alicia Chilton said in a statement to The Associated Press.

WSB-TV in Atlanta reported the station received a call Friday morning from a man who said he was inside the bank and talked for more than 30 minutes.

The man told the station’s assignment desk that he had a bomb and two people with him.

The man said he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, the station reported. He also said he was a homeless Marine Corps veteran who had served in Iraq and that he was unhappy with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides health care to veterans. The man’s identity had not been released and his claims could not immediately be verified.

In the station’s video account of the conversation, the man can be heard saying that the bomb had the power to “take out the room.”

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Associated Press Writer Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed to this report.