Pittsburgh Hostage-Taker Surrenders to Cops

Suspect Klein Michael Thaxton posted about the incident on Facebook

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 21, 2012 10:09 AM CDT | Updated Sep 21, 2012 2:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – An armed suicidal man who held a businessman hostage inside a downtown Pittsburgh office building for more than five hours today, posting Facebook updates during the standoff, surrendered to authorities without incident, police said. Klein Michael Thaxton, 22, surrendered just before 2pm, and the man he took hostage was unhurt, Police Chief Nathan Harper said. The hostage-taking on the 16th floor of Three Gateway Center prompted an evacuation while Thaxton wrote on Facebook that he had "lost everything" and that people didn't have to worry about him anymore.

His friends responded by urging him to end the situation peacefully, including one who asked him to think of his mother. A police spokeswoman identified the hostage as Charles Breitsman, owner of CW Breitsman Associates. The firm runs employee-benefits programs, but it wasn't immediately clear why he was targeted. Thaxton "is a sick young man and we do need to take measures to see he is taken care of as well," police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. "We don't know if he's related to this company." She said Breitsman was able to meet with his family afterward: "He is doing OK at this point, a little shaken up."

Pittsburgh police and SWAT members escort a suspect, center right,  from a hostage-taking on the 16th floor at Three Gateway Center to a police van on  Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh police and SWAT members escort a suspect, center right, from a hostage-taking on the 16th floor at Three Gateway Center to a police van on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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