BREAKING: Hostage situation at courthouse | Arkansas Blog

BREAKING: Hostage situation at courthouse

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We have received word that a life-sentenced prisoner is holding a deputy sheriff at knifepoint in the prisoner area at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock. A SWAT team is there, but we don't know the identity of the prisoner or the hostage.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

UPDATE (11 a.m.): Sources tell us the prisoner is Alonzo Gilliam, who was being transferred to or from trial when he took a female deputy police officer hostage. (Gilliam appealed in 1998 to the U.S. Court of Appeals claiming the Arkansas Dept. of Corrections faield to protect him from being assaulted by another inmate.)

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): Cody Burk of the Pulaski County Sheriff's office says Gilliam is now in custody. Gilliam, 29, was on his way to a pre-trial hearing on a murder charge, and the incident took place in the basement holding facility of the courthouse.

Our reporter on the scene says a SWAT officer told him that Gilliam surrendered after 30 minutes of negotiations. Gilliam told officers that he knew he was going to be sentenced for a long prison term and didn't want to go, at one point saying he wouldn't be taken alive.

The victim was a 60-year-old black female who may have been a county employee and not necessarily a police officer.

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