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Several Killed in Taiwan Temple Hostage Situation

Hostage situation in Taiwan Temple: Taipei police said they have launched an investigation into a gang-related shooting after a hostage situation on Wednesday night that left the alleged gunman dead and four injured.

Police have identified the suspect in the shooting in Taipei’s Wanhua District as Chiu Kuo-lung, an alleged member of the Wan Guo gang, Wanhua District Police Chief Hsieh Tsung-hung told a news conference.

Chiu, 54, took his own life at the end of the shooting spree, Hsieh said.

Police said the incident began at 7:26 p.m. when Chiu arrived at a Hankou Street residence for a meeting with alleged leader Wan Guo Hung Ching-cheng and another gang member.

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After an unspecified “disagreement,” Chiu shot two more, hitting one man nine times — once in the back, once in the right arm and seven times in the legs — and hitting the other man in the back and all four limbs, police said.

Chiu then fled to the nearby Bangka Qingshan Temple on Guiyang Street, where he tried to speak to the temple’s vice president, surnamed Hsu, Hsieh said.

But Hsu refused to help him, and Chiu allegedly shot him three times before taking four people hostage — Hsu’s wife, son and daughter and an unidentified family friend — in a storefront across from the temple, police said.

After arriving at the scene at 7:50 p.m., police engaged in a standoff with Chiu, during which one officer who was tending to an injured temple official was shot in the thigh, police said.

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At 8:50 p.m., Chiu began gradually releasing the hostages, they said.

Hsu’s daughter — who was the first to be released and came out of the storefront with a white flag — told police that Chiu was planning to kill himself, police said.

After releasing all four hostages, Chiu exited the building and shot himself in the head, police said.

He was taken to hospital and was declared brought dead at 10.09 pm, they added.

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Late Wednesday, Hsieh said initial evidence indicated the incident stemmed from a gang dispute.

Hsieh said police will begin interviewing witnesses to determine Chiu’s motives and how he obtained the gun.

Hours after the hostage situation, Chinese media reported that Chiu’s Facebook account posted a photo of him with his son and daughter at 7 p.m.

The post said that Chiu’s “time is up” and that his children should fend for themselves and their mother.

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“Daddy will always love you both. They will grow up to be good people, not like your dad,” the post read.

Around 8:00 p.m., the account responded to comments under the post, explaining Chiu’s motives for the shooting.

One of the comments said that more than a year ago, Chiu pulled a gun on an unspecified person who was bullying his friend.

Since the incident in Taipei’s Ximending area, the person had been harassing Chiu in a constant “cat and mouse game,” the comment said.

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“I failed my children, I failed society. I have no choice,” he added in the comment. “When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”

Police said they believed Chiu’s post referred to a confrontation last year between him and gang member He Gou Tou, who was not among those injured in Wednesday’s shootings.

Meanwhile, the shootings of Hung and the temple official appeared to stem from an incident earlier this year in which Chiu allegedly got into a fistfight and later accused two men who tried to mediate the fight of not siding with him, police said.

As of yesterday morning, all four people injured in the incident were in stable condition and receiving treatment at hospitals in Taipei.

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