A man who held two Cobb County bank employees hostage last month had a machete in his backpack, instead of the bomb he claimed to have, during a three-hour standoff that ended with police fatally shooting the man.
GBI investigators said there is no evidence that Brian Easley pulled out the weapon during the July 7 hostage situation, Channel 2 Action News reported. During the tense moments, Easley called the news station and told them he had a bomb that could “take out the entire room.”
The machete was found after a Cobb County SWAT officer Dennis Ponte shot and killed Easley, the station reported. The standoff ended when a robot entered the bank to retrieve the backpack. Police said at some point Ponte managed to shoot and kill Easley. No hostages were injured in the standoff at a Wells Fargo on Windy Hill Road.
During the hostage situation, Easley told a Channel 2 assignment editor he was homeless and had been kicked out of a Veteran Affairs Hospital that week. The Marine veteran’s brother Calvin Easley said the man was not on his mediation and that the VA was not providing care for his brother, the Atlanta Journal-Constriction previously reported.
“I think this is just another example of a young man who gave to his country and felt, possibly, that the country didn’t give back to him,” Cobb County police Chief Michael Register told Channel 2.
GBI officials have conducted between 40 and 50 witness interviews and have performed more than 60 investigative actions, the news station reported. They are also reviewing surveillance footage from the bank.
Once the case is complete the investigation will be handed over to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, who will then review it,according to Channel 2.