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Hostage situation at Prudential office in Indiana

A seven hour hostage situation inside of a Prudential Executive Group Real Estate’s offices in Valparaiso, Indiana ended with one injury and the gunman’s suicide.

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Indiana real estate office’s hostage situation

According to Fox News and the NWI Times1, the FBI is in contact with a gunman inside of a Prudential Executive Group Real Estate’s offices in Valparaiso, Indiana. The police have not released the number of people being held hostage, and it is being reported that the area has been evacuated and police have the offices surrounded and are positioned with guns drawn behind cars and buildings outside of the offices.

The situation began at 10am on Friday, Valparaiso Police Sgt. Mike Grennes told NWI Times, and officers responded to reports of shots fired inside the building. Porter County SWAT team members arrived at roughly 11am, and FBI agents entered the building just after noon.

Police report that they believe they know who the gunman is but are not releasing his name, and Fox News sources say it is not an employee, but possibly a domestic situation.

Fox News has just reported that police are in contact with the gunman, and demands are unclear, but a good sign is that there are no reports of injuries and no ambulances are on the scene. Two men left the building around 11:30am unharmed, and one woman exited the building unharmed at 12:40pm. It remains unclear as to what the connection is of the five people to the situation.

NWI Times reports that by noon, representatives of the FBI, Indiana State Police, Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Valparaiso University police and Chesterton Police Department were at the scene assisting.

A representative for Valparaiso Community Schools confirmed with the NWI Times that Flint Lake Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School are all on a modified lock down in response to the situation.

This story is ongoing and we will offer more as it breaks; keep reading AGBeat for more.

UPDATES

  • 3:33pm Sgt. Grennes now says the man is holding people hostage because he believes someone there owes him money.
  • Grennes also notes now that officers exchanged shots with the gunman when they arrived.
  • 3:53pm Sources close to the situation tell AGBeat that although unconfirmed, they believe only three people are left inside the building and that the gunman is an ex-customer who is disgruntled, but no one is clear as to with whom he is upset or why.
  • Sources tell us the dispute is personal, not real estate-related.
  • 4:42pm NWI Times reports that all of the hostages who were being held at a real estate office here have been released.
  • The gunman is still in the building and is communicating with the FBI.
  • Prudential Office controller Carolyn Biesen tells NWI that this morning, there was a woman injured, and our sources close to the situation say the woman that was released from the building this morning had sustained a head injury.
  • 5:27pm It is being reported that two large blasts were heard at the scene before a window was shattered. Police have entered the building, but it remains unclear as to the status of the gunman.
  • 5:42pm Police now say that the gunman has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.
  • 9:11pm Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris has confirmed the death of gunman Roy L. Ferguson, 48, of Texas. The dispute at the center of the hostage situation is still unknown.

1 Source: NWI Times

Related:

  1. Indiana remains shaken by the 2011 shooting of Ashley Okland which remains unsolved.
  2. 2011 Realtor Safety Report

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Kris Wales

    May 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Oh no!

  2. Laura Nelson Brown

    May 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    God bless them!

  3. Jack Cassedy

    May 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    It may be a good time to run through emergency procedures with agents/employees at all of your offices.

  4. Jan Mulinix

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Gods guidance in this situation

  5. AgentGenius

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    UPDATE 1: gunman still in building, police say the situation is over money, that he believes he is owed money by someone in the office.

  6. AgentGenius

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    UPDATE 2: gunman is allegedly an ex-customer disgruntled over finances, still unclear who specifically he is angry with

  7. AgentGenius

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    UPDATE 3: all hostages said to be out of the building, gunman still inside and is communicating with FBI.

  8. AgentGenius

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    UPDATE 4: two blasts at scene, police now in building, status of gunman unknown.

  9. AgentGenius

    May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    UPDATE 5: gunman in critical condition after two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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