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Georgian Forces Kill Hostage Taker At TV Station

Tbilisi, 18 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian special forces shot and killed a gunman today who had taken a hostage at the country's main independent television station.

Rustavi-2 TV reported that an armed man entered the station's headquarters in Tbilisi, took an employee hostage, and demanded a meeting with the city prosecutors.

Patrol and special police forces tried to negotiate with the man, but ultimately were forced to shoot him. Deputy Prosecutor General Kakha Koberidze said police had no choice but to kill the man.

He said "there was a real threat to the life of not only the hostage but also to other workers in the television company." Koberidze said the man had been registered as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Police blocked off entrance to the building and surrounding neighborhood as investigators looked for evidence. Interior Ministry officials have refused comment on the incident.

(AP, Reuters, RFE/RL's Georgian Service)