PITTSBURGH (AP) - An armed man with a military background took a hostage inside an upper floor of a downtown Pittsburgh office building today and posted Facebook updates saying he had "lost everything."
Police Chief Nate Harper identified the hostage-taker as Klein Michael Thaxton, who wrote on Facebook that people will "never have to woryy (sic) about me again" after he took a man hostage inside the office of a benefits administration firm on the 16th floor of Three Gateway Center.
Harper said Thaxton had been cooperative, although he has made no demands.
Thaxton's friends responded to his Facebook postings by urging him to end the situation peacefully, including one who asked him to think of his mother.
The Facebook postings have the potential to both help and harm the negotiations, Harper said.
It's helpful that Thaxton can see "that people are concerned about his well-being," Harper said, but "it is a distraction for negotiating."
Harper noted that Thaxton remains calm and they want to keep him that way.
Workers milled around near the building after they were ordered out shortly after 8 a.m. when employees in a nearby office called 911 to report an emergency at CW Breitsman Associates. It's not clear what led Thaxton to target the company, which runs employee-benefits programs for other businesses.
Police brought the suspect's mother to the office building and put her in touch with Thaxton, Harper said. She said she doesn't know what drove her son to take a hostage, he said.