A pregnant woman held at gunpoint escaped with her life during a dramatic rescue by police in Venezuela on Sunday.
Eighteen-year-old Hector Duarte Bahamonte was shot while holding a gun to the head of 44-year-old mother, Nancy Lopez.
Duarte resisted the efforts of mediators to secure his hostage's release and repeatedly threatened to kill her.
Police evacuated the Cua district of Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday during a tense seven hour hostage crisis.
Eighteen-year-old Hector Duarte Bahamonte had holed up in a residential block after police foiled his earlier attempt to rob a nearby bakery.
Duarte seized and then shot two hostages, including a nine year old boy.
Both were left bleeding on the floor of a ninth floor apartment.
Later Duarte emerged with a gun to the head of 44-year-old pregnant mother Nancy Lopez.
His threats to shoot left nobody in any doubt Nancy's life was hanging by a thread.
Police attempts to mediate a peaceful ending seemed useless.
Duarte made it clear he was not going to die alone.
He and Nancy Lopez emerged late in the afternoon as police anxiously looked on.
But marksmen at the scene ended the crisis with a fatal bullet to Duarte's head.
Nancy Lopez walked away, alive but covered in blood.
"We only used one bullet. It's over. We're waiting for the ambulance to come."
SUPER CAPTION: Ivan Simonovis Chief of Baez Group of PTJ
The two injured victims were rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
Onlookers afterwards praised the police.
Duarte had appeared increasingly tense as appeals for Nancy's release continued.
"Evidently we were dealing with a man with a personality disorder who would not listen to reason. You yourselves witnessed the whole process and also he had a smile that really worried me because he gave me the impression that he was about to go into a psychotic episode."
SUPER CAPTION: Victor Amram, Psychologist of the Judicial and Technical Police
Duarte had demanded a vehicle in order to make his escape and spoke to his mother on a police cell phone before his death.
Police were certain there had been no choice but to shoot him.
"Unfortunately this was the situation that we did not want. Our hand was forced by this man."
SUPER CAPTION: Pablo Guzman, Chief of anti-drugs division of the Judicial and Technical Police
The victims in this tragic episode are now safe and recovering.
Few could have foreseen how the actions of one man would threaten to turn this neighbourhood into a bloodbath.