Man shot by police during bank standoff had issue with VA benefits

Brian Easley was killed by SWAT members after taking hostages at a bank. During negotiations, police said Easley expressed frustration with the military.

ATLANTA -- The man shot dead by authorities after he claimed to have a bomb at a Marietta bank had visited the Atlanta Veteran Affairs office days before the incident.

VA spokesperson James Hutton confirmed to NBC News that Brian Easley was at the Atlanta office on July 3 to discuss an issue with his BA benefits. After being informed of what he needed, Easley said that he'd return on Thursday with the paperwork to settle the matter. 

Easley didn't return as planned, Hutton said.

On Friday, police said Easley walked into a Wells Fargo bank and said he had a bomb in his backpack. He made several demands that referenced the miltary and his status as a veteran, authorities said.

Early in the standoff, he released some customers and employees. Police said he held two women hostage until after noon. 

After several hours of negotiations, authorities entered the bank and said that Easley was dead. They've declined to release details into how he died, but have classified the incident as an "officer-involved shooting."

"I don't think that suspect had an idea what was going on or about to occur," Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said on Friday.

Authorities later confirmed that the backpack did not contain a bomb.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation, as they do most officer-involved shootings.

"VA is deeply saddened by the news in Cobb County," Hutton said. " VA worked closely with law enforcement to try to resolve the situation peacefully, but unfortunately it ended in tragedy.  Our sincere condolences go out to everyone affected."

The VA reminds veterans that the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

PHOTOS | Bomb threat at Wells Fargo in Cobb

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