BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A man convicted in a hostage situation at a Baltimore Burger King hanged himself in his cell the day after receiving a 123-year sentence, The Baltimore Sun reports.
George Johnson, 28, was found unresponsive on the floor of his Jessup Correctional Institution cell by an officer making rounds on Friday night, a prison system spokesman told The Baltimore Sun. The medical examiner’s office determined he died of asphyxiation by hanging.
Johnson was convicted of four counts of false imprisonment and reckless endangerment, as well as fleeing an accident after he took four hostages, including a 7-year-old girl, inside a Burger King in July 2016.
Johnson was acquitted of the most serious charges he faced, including first- and second-degree assault and use of a firearm in a violent crime counts, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Police and SWAT team officers surrounded the area, along with reinforcements from neighboring counties.
Johnson released two of the hostages — a 17 year-old restaurant employee and a 67-year-old male customer — hours later, but negotiations continued. Negotiators talked to the suspect, enlisting the help of relatives of the hostages.
Danielle Montgomery is the cousin of the youngest hostage. She spoke to the suspect for 20 minutes.
“I just asked him to toss the gun and walk out with his hands up and that’s what he did,” Montgomery said.
The hostage situation lasted approximately 5 1/2 hours, and the remaining victims — a 7-year-old girl and the restaurant’s 25-year-old manager — were eventually released unharmed.
One person was injured in connection with the initial crash with Johnson, police said. That person was treated for minor injuries.