The hostage-taker at Fairfield University who held up 22 students and one teacher for about six hours on Tuesday was identified as Patrick Arbelo, a 24-year-old resident of Bridgeport, by the Fairfield Police Department.

At approximately 11:00 p.m., Fairfield University graduate Patrick Arbelo surrendered with his hands on his head, not holding the reported bomb device, and without incident. He is currently being processed and prosecuted with any number of felonies within the state of Connecticut. The device has now been deemed not dangerous by a bomb squad.

According to the Fairfield Police Chief, Joseph Sambrook, Arbelo wanted a satement that he had written to be read over CBS radio, but had no demands. The statement was said to be anti-semitic and was eventually read by the hostage who was let go last. Sambrook had no idea why this class was chosen or if he had known the teacher, Dr. Elizabeth A. Dreyer.

“He was very concerned with his own safety,” Sambrook said. “It took a lot of persuasion to have him leave and I credit the resolution to the Chief Hostage Negotiator, Lt. Gary MacNamara, for convincing him to do so.”

Although Sambrook remained fairly tight-lipped, he added that Arbelo’s parents were contacted and his father was on scene, although he took no part in talking with Arbelo during the incident. It has also been reported that Arbelo was blind. His picture at the 2001 Fairfield University graduation ceremonies depicts him with a seeing-eye dog.

Prior to Arbelo’s surrender, the last victim of the hostage crisis, student Ripton Marini, was released by Arbelo at around 10:15 p.m., said Sergeant Gene Palazzolo at a press conference. Shortly before this, Dr. Elizabeth A. Dreyer, the professor of the Religious Studies class, was released and taken to a safe location where all the hostages are now being secured. Students have been reunited with their parents.

All Fairfield students have been isolated and trained counselors are available for everyone in need. A student-organized prayer service was held at 8:00 p.m. on the softball field. A neighboring residence hall, Gonzaga, which holds about 250 students was completely evacuated and have been given appropriate sleep and food accommodations.

“The school has been communicating via e-mail with students and all affected parents have been notified,” said Doug Whiting, associate vice president of Public Relations.

First Selectman Ken Flatto commented on how well the Fairfield Police Department handled the situation and how he hopes something like this will never happen again. “I am so happy that this had a safe ending,” said Flatto. “This is a great and safe institution and this should be a once-in-a-lifetime incident that will never happen again. The police just saved the day.”

Perhaps they did. But what about the next day? At midnight on Wednesday, Fairfield officials alerted Resident Assistants that classes will resume. And an e-mail was sent to the members of the Fairfield community on Wednesday morning by the president, Father Aloysius P. Kelley, in an effort to answer any lingering questions.

And with that, the hostage crisis has ended and it is businnes as usual at Fairfield University.

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