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Patient of dermatology office reportedly waved gun, held hostages there before he was killed by police
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Two women are escorted away from the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Lanier Dermatology in Sherwood Plaza on Monday, Jan. 14. A man is dead after being shot by police officers responding to a report of a gunman at Lanier Dermatology on South Enota Drive in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

A Dahlonega man took hostages at Lanier Dermatology in Gainesville, where he was a patient, before he was shot and killed by police mid-morning Monday, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

No one else was injured, according to the Gainesville Police Department. The GBI identified the man Tuesday as Rodney Hamilton, 62, of Dahlonega.

A 911 caller at about 11 a.m. told authorities a man was waving a gun at the office, which is at 605 S. Enota Drive in Sherwood Plaza, according to preliminary information reported by the GBI. Gainesville Police arrived three minutes later.

“The officers made their way into the doctor’s office while clearing staff from the building,” according to a news release issued Tuesday by the GBI. “When officers encountered the man, he had hostages in an office at gunpoint.”

Officers spoke to the man, but he ignored their commands, according to the GBI. During the encounter, he was shot by an officer. 

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A woman speaks with an investigator Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at Lanier Dermatology following an officer involved shooting inside the South Enota Drive medical offices of Sherwood Plaza. - photo by Scott Rogers

GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said two officers were “immediately involved” and were on standard administrative leave, but only one officer fired shots. The officers have not been identified.

Many employees of businesses in Sherwood Plaza witnessed people running out of Lanier Dermatology.

Billy Baumgartner was standing outside Lanier Dermatology when he saw officers rush into the building. He told The Times that after officers entered the business, he heard six to 10 gunshots.

“As soon as he (the law enforcement officer) went through that door and started going in there, all you heard was: pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” Baumgartner said. 

Carlos Rodriguez, a server at El Sombrero, said the restaurant’s employees noticed a commotion outside, while they were preparing to open around 11 a.m. 

“We know the nurses, they come in here all the time,” Rodriguez said. “We saw them running out frantically, some were even crying.”

Bo Bennett, who was working at Locos around when the incident occured, said when he heard word of the shooting, he whipped out his phone to take a video. 

Witness records man being taken to ambulance

Bo Bennett, a Locos employee, recorded a video on Snapchat of the alleged gunman at Lanier Dermatology being loaded into an ambulance around 11:15 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Bennett said he saw a man being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher with both of his hands secured. 

Hamilton was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, where he was pronounced dead. 

The GBI was called at 11:15 a.m. Monday to investigate, which is standard in shooting incidents involving officers. Hamilton’s vehicle was also inspected and cleared by the GBI “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the news release.

Bennett said at one point he counted 25 police and emergency medical services vehicles. 

One officer was taken to the hospital after the shooting, but police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said the officer wasn’t injured in the exchange.

An autopsy will be conducted before the case is given to the Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney for review.

Nick Watson, Nick Bowman, Jeff Gill and Kelsey Richardson contributed to this report.

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Witnesses to a shooting inside Lanier Dermatology Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, gather in the parking lot to give police statements. A man is dead after being shot by police officers responding to a report of a gunman inside the medical offices on South Enota Drive in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers
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