Man killed after hostage standoff at Cobb County bank

Police officers survey the scene at a Wells Fargo Bank, Friday, July 7, 2017 in Marietta, Ga.(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Credit: Mike Stewart

Credit: Mike Stewart

Police officers survey the scene at a Wells Fargo Bank, Friday, July 7, 2017 in Marietta, Ga.(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Police shot and killed a man they say held two Cobb County bank workers hostage on Friday while complaining about the military and claiming he had a bomb strong enough to destroy the building.

During the three-hour standoff, the Marine veteran spoke with police and called the Channel 2 Action News newsroom to discuss his intentions at the Wells Fargo on Windy Hill Road.

He said he didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he also said his bomb could “take out the entire room.”

The man identified himself as Brian Easley during his hourlong talk with the Channel 2 assignment editor.

Even though he gave his name, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is working to positively confirm who he was for their investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

Easley told the television station he was homeless and had been kicked out of a Veterans Affairs Hospital on Monday.

Cobb police Chief Mike Register said during the standoff Friday that the veteran had grievances with the military.

James Hutton, national spokesman with the VA, said he couldn’t confirm whether or not Easley’s claim was true.

"VA worked closely with law enforcement to try to resolve the situation peacefully, but unfortunately it ended in tragedy,” Hutton said in a statement.

The Marines confirmed that Easley served from January 2002 to December 2005 with tours in Kuwait and Iraq as a warehouse clerk. He reached the rank of lance corporal.

It wasn’t only Easley’s military experience that caused police to take the man’s bomb threat seriously. The man used language and details that made it appear he had experience with explosive materials, a Cobb police spokesman said.

“When he first went in the bank, he let it be known that he had an IED and he was prepared to use it,” Register said.

A police sniper sits atop a restaurant near a Wells Fargo Bank, Friday, July 7, 2017 in Marietta, Ga. A man who claimed to have a bomb that could "take out the room" barricaded himself inside a suburban Atlanta bank Friday, sparking an hours-long standoff that forced police to bust through a brick wall of the building and later ended with the suspect's death.(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Credit: Mike Stewart

icon to expand image

Credit: Mike Stewart

Employees were inside the bank when police first got a call at 9:32 a.m.

All but two of the employees were able to get out, and they stayed inside as hostages for hours until police said they found an opportunity to help the pair escape.

Neither of the employees were harmed.

“We are deeply grateful to local law enforcement for their actions to secure the release of our team members today at our Windy Hill branch,” said Crystal Drake, spokeswoman with Wells Fargo.

Register said the man was making demands but wouldn't detail what he was asking for.

The standoff came to and end after a robot breached the front door of the bank at about 1 p.m. Authorities safely disposed of the backpack Easley had said is where he had the explosives.

What happened afterward that led to an officer shooting was not immediately clear on Friday and will be investigated by GBI.

“It appears ... when we made contact trying to extract the hostages, a member of the tactical team may have been responsible for the deceased,” Register said.

He wouldn’t comment as to what caused an officer to shoot or even what agency that officer was from, citing the GBI investigation.

Nelly Miles, spokeswoman with GBI, declined to release any information related to the case.

This is the 41st officer-involved shooting in Georgia so far in 2017, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“It’s unfortunate when something like this happens. It's not something we want to happen but unfortunately to preserve life sometimes it becomes necessary,” Register said.

Like Cobb County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.