After several of his demands were met, Lauren Holman Brown allegedly gave police in a suburban Atlanta county until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to board up his home's windows and doors.
As the deadline approached, negotiators became convinced that Brown, 55, would not release the four Gwinnett County, Georgia, firefighters he was holding hostage, even if his demands were met, according to police.
Authorities put their contingency rescue plan into motion as the deadline expired.
SWAT officers swarmed into the house, yelling commands to Brown as they entered his bedroom. The resident, according to Gwinnett County Police, fired at the first officer to enter the room, striking him in the arm. The injured officer returned fire, killing Brown.
The ordeal was over.
As police on Thursday provided a time line of the incident, a significant question lingered.
Why did this happen?
"Brown never made his ultimate goals clear to the hostages or to negotiators," police said in a statement. "He did express a desire for his family to witness what was happening."
Investigators learned from the freed hostages that Brown claimed to have planned the event for weeks. They found six guns in the home, according to police.
"He told his hostages that he targeted firefighters rather than police so that he would not be shot when he attempted to take hostages," police said.
Brown, who lived in Suwanee, Georgia -- about 30 miles north of Atlanta -- had been dealing with financial problems.
Authorities said police had been called to Brown's home several times over the last 10 years but said he had no criminal record other than a failure to appear charge in Acworth, Georgia.
The drama began at 3:41 p.m. Wednesday with a call from Brown, who said he was having chest pains, police said.
Police Cpl. Jake Smith said the hostage taker had "some physical ailment that kept him from being very mobile."
Five fire department personnel found Brown lying on his bed.
He allegedly produced a handgun and made his first demands after releasing one hostage to move emergency vehicles in front of the house, police said.
Negotiators, communicating with Brown through a firefighter's radio, restored electricity and cable television service to his foreclosed house, Police Chief Charles Walters told reporters on Thursday.
"He gave us nothing," Walters said.
As time went on, Brown refused to release his hostages and said he was in control, according to police.
At 6:30 p.m., Brown, still in the bedroom, called for food to be brought to the home for him and the hostages.