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    Two arrested in hostage standoff

    ©Associated Press
    September 11, 2002

    WEST MELBOURNE -- A hostage standoff Tuesday ended with the arrests of two men, one of whom was shot when the victim grabbed his gun, police said. No one else was hurt.

    Early Tuesday, two men and two women staying at a Howard Johnson's hotel here received a call from a man who said he needed to use their cell phone, said Brevard County Sheriff Phil Williams. They told the man to come over.

    Brothers Walter and Cecil Bell and Omar Sanders burst into the room wearing ski masks, with one of them wielding a laser-sighted assault weapon, police said. They left a man they abducted in Melbourne earlier at the hotel, West Melbourne police spokesman Steve Wilkinson said.

    The Bell brothers took one of the male hotel guests with them to rob the Palm Bay home of the man they abducted earlier. But one of the kidnappers left a gun on the seat of the car, allowing the victim to grab it and shoot Walter Bell in the leg, Wilkinson said.

    Residents of the neighborhood told police they heard gunfire as the victim ran from the armed suspects, Palm Bay police spokesman John Sherbert said. Police found the victim as he ran out of the woods. The car driven by the suspects to the Palm Bay home was found abandoned in Melbourne with bloodstains inside.

    The Bells went to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, where Walter Bell was being treated but hadn't been arrested Tuesday afternoon. Cecil Bell, 19, of Jacksonville was arrested on charges of obstructing justice.

    After responding to the Palm Bay home, police surrounded the motel, where Sanders was holding the hostages with his assault rifle. The standoff lasted 41/2 hours before all five of them calmly walked out of the room into police custody.

    The victims haven't been identified and were being held for questioning Tuesday.

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