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Hostage Incident Ends Peacefully

February 24, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A disgruntled workers’ compensation recipient, waving a .38 caliber handgun, held two attorneys hostage for nearly three hours in a Brooklyn office building Wednesday afternoon before quietly surrendering.

No one was injured in the incident, which started at the Workers’ Compensation Board around 1:15 p.m., police said. The man pulled a gun in a hearing room and grabbed the two hostages, said Detective Joseph McConville, a police spokesman.

The man was holed up inside the room with his two hostages until about 3:45 p.m., when he released one of them. Fifteen minutes later, he turned the second attorney loose and surrendered to police, said police spokesman Lt. Thomas Fahey.

Earlier, he had demanded that John Johnson, a local television news reporter, come to the scene and had aired his grievances about his case to Johnson. And Workers’ Compensation Board Chariman Barbara Patton agreed to review the case, which involved a 1984 car accident that led to a settlement in December, authorities said.

The two lawyers were identified as Richard Kelman and Richard Wolf. Initially, police had said one of the two lawyers was an administrative law judge.

One of the attorneys had represented the gunman in his workers’ compensation case, said Alice McGillion, deputy police commissioner for public information.

″Apparently, his grief is with the workmen’s compensation board,″ McGillion had said during the incident. ″We’ll wait it out.″

The gunman’s only demand was to meet with Johnson, McConville said. The television newsman arrived shortly before 2:30 p.m., riding in a police car with its sirens and lights on and cheered by workers in the six-story office building.

The gunman complained to Johnson that he was being harassed over the $20,000 settlement in his case.

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