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Suspect in La. Deputy’s Death Surrenders

June 16, 2006

RIVER RIDGE, La. (AP) _ A man wanted in the shooting death of sheriff’s deputy surrendered to police after a standoff Friday and released an elderly man he had taken hostage, authorities said.

John Lee Cheek, 31, walked out of the hostage’s home after about 30 minutes of negotiations, authorities said. He was already suspected in several Texas thefts.

Dozens of heavily armed police officers swarmed the New Orleans suburb Friday morning after Cmdr. Octavius Gonzales of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office was shot to death and Cheek crashed his car during a police chase.

In River Ridge, Cheek ran into a home where neighbors said Cliff Lala, a man in his late 70s or early 80s, lived alone.

Lala was later released unharmed and Cheek surrendered.

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