Sgt. Jason Teague (Photo: Gwinnett Co. Police Department)
SUWANEE, Ga. -- The five firefighters held hostage in Suwanee last week spoke for the first time about the nearly four-hour ordeal.
MORE | Gunman who took firefighters hostage killed after standoff
At a press conference Tuesday, they said the call started as a normal one and they suspected nothing was wrong.
Several minutes into the medical call, the suspect, Lauren Brown, took off his blood pressure cuff, pulled a gun and told the firefighters it was time to explain the "real reason" they were there.
PHOTOS | Firefighters held hostage
Firefighter Tim Hollingsworth said Brown told them he had family and money problems, and wanted certain people to see what was happening and "live their lives with guilt."
Hollingsworth said he believed Brown intended to kill the firefighters, then set his house on fire, then kill himself. "He was wanting so bad to see it on TV," Hollingsworth said. And (Jason) Schuon here, he went and was disconnecting the cable box so it would not come on. So he couldn't see it." Schuon was the rookie firefighter of the five original hostages.
Aside from Hollingsworth and Schuon, the other firefighters originally taken hostage were Jody Moss, Chip Echols and Sidney Garner. The gunman released Moss early in the ordeal so that Moss could move the fire trucks away from the front of the house.
The firefighters said they joked around with Brown to keep the situation calm. Brown told them he had been planning it for weeks, and they joked if that was true, why hadn't he made them coffee.
Hollingsworth said they used the joke about making coffee to get some of the firefighters out of the room. They used their mobility to send each other text messages, and messages to firefighters and SWAT team members outside.
Throughout the standoff, they kept reassuring Brown they were on his side and wanted to do whatever they could to help him.
Hollingsworth said the firefighters did things several times to position themselves close to Brown to overtake him, but they did not because they didn't know if he had other weapons or explosives.
The firefighters learned via text that SWAT team were preparing to enter the house. They said they casually moved to areas in the home to stay out of the way.