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Gunman Frees Hostages, Shoots Self

October 10, 1997

ATHERTON, Calif. (AP) _ A gunman shot himself today after releasing three hostages, including his ex-girlfriend and two strangers whose home he invaded the previous evening at the end of a 100-mile chase, sheriff’s officials said.

Anthony Smith, 37, of Vacaville released the hostages at about 10 a.m. and continued to negotiate with authorities by telephone, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department said. But a little more than an hour later, officers heard a single gunshot and the line went dead, according to Sgt. Bill Cody, a spokesman for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.

Smith was taken to a hospital just before noon, unconscious and with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The hostages were shaken but in good condition, Cody said.

The trouble started in Sacramento on Thursday night when Smith disobeyed a restraining order by going to the home of Angela Brye, his former girlfriend, said Pam Alejandre, a Sacramento police spokeswoman.

Smith abducted the 28-year-old elementary school teacher, forcing her to drive at high speeds toward the San Francisco area before winding up on a dead-end road outside Atherton, an upscale community south of the city, authorities said.

Smith abandoned his car and then holed himself up with Brye in the home of an unidentified couple, authorities said.

During the chase, Smith called 911 from a cellular phone and warned that he would kill the woman if police didn’t back off, authorities said.

He allegedly fired several times at pursuing officers. One CHP vehicle and two other cars were hit, but no one was injured.

At one point, the suspect pulled alongside another car and asked if the driver had a cellular phone, then fired at the passenger but missed, Alejandre said.

During the standoff inside the house, negotiators talked to Smith on the telephone and he had made no demands before finally releasing the hostages, said Tom Maruyama, a sheriff’s spokesman.

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