UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
National Public Information Officer
Wytheville, Virginia Post Office Hostage Taker Arrested
Following an approximate ten hours stand off with law enforcement at the Wytheville Post Office Warren Taylor was arrested without incident.
Taylor, of Sullivan County Tennessee, entered the Post Office at approximately 2:30 PM on Wednesday December 23, 2009, armed with a handgun and pushing a wheelchair which he claimed contained an explosive device. When Taylor entered the Post Office he fired one shot. On hearing the shot the customers and employees began to flee the Post Office but Taylor was able to take one Postal Service employee and two customers hostage. Following this a multi-agency, multi-discipline public safety response was initiated. Postal Inspectors along with the Wytheville police and fire departments, Wythe County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene.
At approximately 11:10 PM the three hostages were released unharmed. Approximately one hour later Taylor exited the Post Office and surrendered to law enforcement. Due to the claims Taylor made concerning the presence of explosives law enforcement officers searched the Post Office for any explosives. At approximately 5:00 am on Thursday December 24th the Post Office was deemed to be free from any explosives devices.
"The safety and security of Postal Service employees and customers is core to the mission of the Postal Inspection Service. This incident is a tremendous example of how local, state and federal partners can join together to quickly and safely resolve situations like this," said Chief Postal Inspector William R. Gilligan, Jr. "I would like to thank all the emergency responders along with our law enforcement partners for their efforts."
Postal Service delivery operations from the Wythe Post Office will resume today. Lobby operations are currently suspended but are expected to resume on Monday December 28th.
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