Law officers have shot and killed a man who allegedly took three hostages at a bank in rural northeastern Louisiana. Police have identified Fuaed Abdo Ahmed as the 20-year-old suspect who was killed early on August 14. Ahmed’s parents are originally from Yemen and own a convenience store across the street from the Tensas State Bank branch were the shooting occurred in St. Joseph LA. He was armed with a pistol and a long gun.
 
Ahmed allegedly shot two of the three hostages. A man and a woman were taken by ambulance from the scene to a local hospital where one of them has since succumbed to wounds.  Ahmed had taken three persons hostage on August 13, but later released one who has been identified as Patricia Davis. She is unharmed. According to law enforcement officials, a telephone conversation with a friend in Alaska convinced Ahmed to release Davis.
 
St. Joseph is a quiet farming community of approximately 1,200 souls. The local mayor expressed surprise at the unfolding events, saying that they were “bizarre.”
 
Local witnesses told media sources that they heard on August 13 that Ahmed had given law enforcement 10 hours to give in to his so-far undetermined demands. Police also arrested a family member of Ahmed, a young man who allegedly drove his car through a police perimeter and drove towards the bank. The drive of the vehicle was arrested at gunpoint and cuffed. A state police spokesman said that the driver had rushed to the scene out of concern for Ahmed. The bank was surrounded by officers from various law enforcement agencies, include Tensas Parish deputies and Louisiana State Police troopers.
 
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson declared that Ahmed was a “paranoid schizophrenic”, according to media reports. Also, it was reported that plans, a note about the bank assault, and a book about hostage negotiations, were found in his home. Col. Edmonson claimed that Ahmed had planned the attack. At about midnight, August 13, Ahmed told police that he planned to kill the hostages. It was then that Louisiana state troopers moved to raid the bank. "This is certainly not the way I wanted this to end, but I believe his mind was set from the beginning," said Col. Edmonson.
 
Negotiators spoke with Ahmed throughout the day on August 13, but he often hung up on them. "He was mad at people he said were mean to him," said Col. Edmonson. "He heard voices in his head and wanted a thing in his head removed." Robbery was not thought to be a motive.
 
Local reports say that Ahmed was a U.S. citizen and that his parents moved to out-of-the-way St. Joseph from California following the events of 9/11.
 
No law enforcement officers were injured or killed in the confrontation. Approximately 100 law officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, a bomb squad and sheriff's deputies from four parishes (in Louisiana, counties are called parishes), were on hand. At least one military-style armored vehicle was also deployed, as well as SWAT officers. While lights were brought in to illuminate the area, a no-fly zone with a radius of 5 miles and up to 5,000 feet was imposed above the bank. Highway 128, which connects St. Joseph to nearby Monroe, was blocked off.  Local people were upset about the heavy police presence.
 
"We're not accustomed to this kind of activity," said 25-year-old Richardo Miles to AP.  "Some people are pretty scared. They're nervous." Some people have left town, according to the mayor. 
 
A Gulfstream jet operated by the U.S. Department of Justice landed at a small airport in nearby Natchez, Mississippi, at approximately 8:30 pm CT on August 13, while a Louisiana state police helicopter also landed there. Adams County MS sheriff’s deputies escorted the federal agents to Tensas Parish. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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