Man frees hostage held for hours at Brazil hotel

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SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian hotel was evacuated in the capital of Brasilia on Monday after a man took hostage an employee who was held for hours before he was safely released to police.

Firefighters and police cordoned off the area and about 300 guests and other employees left the hotel — some reportedly told to leave by the man who took the employee hostage.

Live television images on Monday showed the man with what appeared to be a gun, parading the hostage out onto the balcony of a room on the 13th floor of the Saint Peter Hotel.

The hostage was handcuffed for hours and wearing what appeared to be an explosive vest.

Seven hours afterward, the man and hostage were seen raising their arms in the air, handcuffed one to the other in what appeared to be a sign of surrender, and the hotel employee was no longer wearing the vest.

Globo News channel said the man turned himself over to police.

Authorities identified the man as Jac Souza de Santos, from the northern state of Tocantins and had been staying at the hotel since Saturday.

The spokesman for the investigative police in the Federal District, Paulo Henrique Almeida, said the man had planned the attack in the previous days but was not clear on his demands.

"He was always threatening to explode something. The threat was constant," Almeida said.

The spokesman said the weapon was a toy gun, but authorities are still trying to determine if the vest held actual explosives.

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