VALPARAISO HOSTAGE SITUATION

Autopsy: Self-inflicted shots killed hostage-taking gunman

2012-05-29T19:30:00Z 2012-05-31T00:31:00Z Autopsy: Self-inflicted shots killed hostage-taking gunmanBy Jeff Burton jeff.burton@nwi.com, (219) 548-4354 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Suicide has been declared the official cause of death for a Texas man who held employees of a Valparaiso real estate office hostage Friday.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said an autopsy completed Tuesday found Roy Ferguson, 48, of Fulshear, Texas, had died of two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to his head.

Harris said another gunshot wound to the upper right side of Ferguson's chest was determined to not be life-threatening.

Just after 10 a.m. Friday, Ferguson walked into the Prudential Executive Group building, 2612 N. Calumet Ave., and fired several rounds into the air with his handgun, Indiana State Police said. Ferguson was a former Valparaiso resident who continued to own a home in the city he was renting out.

Valparaiso police were called to the scene and exchanged gunfire with Ferguson briefly, authorities said.

Valparaiso Sgt. Mike Grennes said Tuesday that Ferguson's chest wound was a result of that exchange.

"It was from our initial contact with the individual," Grennes said.

State police said Ferguson then barricaded himself in an office with a man and two women, one of whom was hidden in the room before Ferguson took his hostages inside.

Through communication with negotiators, Ferguson released the man and one woman during a nearly seven-hour standoff, while the second woman was released after Ferguson allegedly injured her.

Porter County and Portage SWAT team members eventually stormed the building, where they discovered Ferguson shot. He was taken to Porter hospital, where he later died.

Grennes said state police are conducting the investigation at the request of Valparaiso police. He said anytime there is an officer-involved shooting, the department seeks the assistance of an outside agency to investigate.

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