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Bill Close Hostage Crisis

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End of the crisis; anchorman talks with police officers with Gwin's handgun lying by the anchorman's side of the table (left)

The Bill Close Hostage situation took place on May 28, 1982, when Phoenix resident Joseph Billie Gwin hijacked a local news station in Arizona - KOOL-TV - at gunpoint and demanded that the media outlet broadcast his written message which predicted a second civil war in the United States and a third World War. Gwin entered the building at 5:00PM with a handgun, forcing news employees to leave the precincts and holding four employees hostage. He issued a death threat, demanding that his message be broadcast live by KOOL-TV. The crisis deescalated when news anchorman Bill Close convinced Gwin to release all hostages other than himself. After 9:30 PM, Close concluded the reading of Gwin's message on live television and peacefully disarmed Gwin from his handgun. Police officials stormed the newsroom thereafter..[1] Gwin was later charged with kidnapping, assault and burglary for his crimes[2]

The hostage crisis ended after five hours, with one injury and no deaths.


Gwin was identified twice in the week before perpetrating the hostage crisis. The first time he appeared, he spoke with a receptionist, then a cameraman, requesting to tour the news building. Both incoherent and insistent, he was denied access. The cameraman later recalled that "he didn't really seem to know that he wanted". The cameraman then saw him on a second occasion, this time hiding behind a poll while examining the building's alleyway. He also walked around the precincts while staff were questioning wether to call police authorities. He then disappeared. The third time he would appear would be when he stormed the news building.

Hostage situation[edit]

Minutes before KOOL-TV began its 5PM broadcast hour, Joseph Billie Gwin (at the time, 29 years old) stormed the news headquarter carrying a handgun and a small television monitor. He demanded that camera staff leave the precincts. After Louis Villa approached the gunman, Gwin grabbed Villa, stood in front of television monitors in the newsroom and held Villa in a chokehold with a gun to his head. He then demanded that his message be broadcast and fired a single gunshot. The first five hours consisted of Gwin holding four individuals, including Villa and news anchorman Bill Close, hostage. During his initial standoff, Gwin vaguely told Close that God had "shown him" future events that would envelop in the form of both a second American Civil War and a third World War, claiming that he was willing to kill people in order to get his message out. Throughout the entire crisis, Bill Close acted as a mediator against Gwin's homicidal threats. Gwin periodically became increasingly agitated, incoherent and tightened his hold on the gun trigger as it pressed against Villa's head. Close spoke with civil authorities through telephone while negotiating with Gwin. All hostages outside of Bill Close were eventually released after hours of verbal exchange. Close finally convinced Gwin that his message would not be received positively by viewers if they were to watch people held at gun point by the gunman. The decision was then unanimously made to let Bill Close communicate Gwin's message to viewers. Gwin then agreed to sit beside Close for a live, televised reading of his 11-12 page script, permitted that Gwin hold a gun to Close's side and watch the broadcast go out in realtime. Before Bill Close gave his forced broadcast, KOOL-TV went on with its intended broadcast in another location. However, many members of the news organization watched the hostage situation unfold from another room in the building through television monitors.

Gwin's message claimed the following, among others:

  • Joseph Billie Gwin was involved with "The Ten Prophets". He was labelled "the traitor".
  • Incoherently drew a correlation between Islam and the teaching of sociology in American schools, claiming that "Islam is using this sociology on children. They used it on my generation to start the Hippie movement and drugs and on today's generation to turn them into punks and punk rockers by hypnotism."
  • The prediction that "new cities" would be created in the United States, which will be populated by "white, Anglo-Saxon men" who are homosexuals.
  • World War III will begin in the fall of 1988 and end in 1999.
  • Edward Kennedy will be the elected President of the United States throughout World War III. He will be elected for two terms.
  • "Islam", ambiguously, will drop atomic bombs on Gwin's fictional cities.
  • The second American civil war will break out after the end of the third World War, carving the United States into four separate nations. This partition will occur by the year 2000. There will be an Islamic state in the east, a Neo-Confederate state in the south, Mexican territory in the west, and an ambiguous state in the northwest.
  • 80 million people will migrate to the former United States from Latin America. Ambiguously identifying this demographic as one political entity, Latin Americans will colonize North America and invade the Southern states.
  • Brazil will invade the Southern states from 2006 to 2016. It will colonize the Southern states, the former United States and Canada.
  • Argentina will annex the United Kingdom. London will be destroyed by an atomic bomb. Britain will not resist.
  • Johnny Cash and Dan Rather are involved in a conspiracy with Joseph Billie Gwin.
  • American refugees will arrive en masse into Canada.
  • Fire ants from Brazil will "invade" Arizona.
  • Latin Americans will ignite a genocide against Americans on par with those committed against Indigenous Peoples in North America.
  • Between 1995 and 2000, Indonesia and Japan will go to war. Indonesia will win the war and go on to invade Australia. Indonesia will win, again, and divide the former Australia into two entities - an Indonesian puppet-state in Eastern Australia and a free state in Western Australia, called "New Australia".
  • The Founding Fathers of the United States were Muslim.

When Bill Close completed Gwin's message, Joseph Billie Gwin surrendered to police authorities peacefully and without resistance.

See also[edit]


  1. "Bill Close Hostage Crisis". KOOL News 10. 1982-05-28 – via Internet Archive.
  2. "MAN WHO TOOK 4 HOSTAGES FACES CHARGES IN INCIDENT AT TV STATION". Associated Press. Retrieved 29 July 2022 – via The New York Times.

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