Tony Kiritsis

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Tony Kiritsis
Born(1932-08-13)August 13, 1932
DiedJanuary 28, 2005(2005-01-28) (aged 72)
Indianapolis, Indiana

Anthony "Tony" G. Kiritsis (August 13, 1932 – January 28, 2005) was an American kidnapper.


Kiritsis was a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, and had fallen behind on mortgage payments for a piece of real estate. In early February 1977, when his mortgage broker Richard O. Hall refused to give him additional time to pay, Kiritsis became convinced that Hall and Hall’s father wanted the property. The property’s value had increased and could be sold at a high profit. Hall claimed that he had proof of this in writing.


The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Kiritsis holding a shotgun to Richard Hall's head Gunheld Broker.jpg
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Kiritsis holding a shotgun to Richard Hall's head

On Tuesday, February 8, 1977, Kiritsis went to Hall's office and wired the muzzle of a sawed-off shotgun to the back of Hall’s head. The wire was also connected to the trigger and the other end was connected to Hall's neck. This "dead man's line" meant that if a policeman shot Kiritsis the shotgun would go off and shoot Hall in the head. The same would happen if Hall tried to escape. Kiritsis called the police from Hall's office and told them that he had taken Hall as a hostage.

Kiritsis held Hall hostage for 63 hours. During this time, most of which was spent in Kiritsis's apartment, he made frequent calls to radio station WIBC (1070 AM) newsman Fred Heckman, who broadcast what Kiritsis said. Finally, a lawyer said Hall had signed a document stating that he had mistreated Kiritsis and would pay him $5 million. The document also stated that Kiritsis would not be prosecuted or even arrested. Kiritsis then made a speech in front of live TV cameras declaring himself "a goddamned national hero." His speech became so emotional that some journalists thought he would shoot Hall, so they terminated the live broadcast. The police chief, Bill Fisher, in an interview said there was a plan in place. If Fisher pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket it meant it was go time. Fisher would put the gun behind Kiritsis' ear and shoot him while another officer jammed the gun. Fisher said he had reached into his pocket for the handkerchief three times but ended up putting it back. Eventually however, Kiritsis released Hall. He fired the shotgun into the air to prove it had been loaded and was immediately arrested. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Most people who knew Kiritsis had good things to say about him and were surprised at what he had done. Kiritsis was described as "always helpful and kind to his neighbors, a hard worker and a strict law-and-order sort of man". [1] Kiritsis also said several times that he did not want anyone to get hurt and apologized for the way he had treated Dick Hall. At his trial, psychiatrists said he was psychotic and in a "paranoid delusional state" during the hostage incident.

Later life

Kiritsis was released from a mental institution in January 1988, after the state could not prove he was still a danger to society. Kiritsis died in January 2005 at his home of natural causes. He was 72 years old. [2]

Effects of the case

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  1. 1 2 Tony Kiritsis Case Archived 2006-05-04 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on 2011-02-09.
  2. "'Tony' Kiritsis dead at 74; Held an Executive Hostage for 63 Hours in Indy in 1977 | 93.1 WIBC". 2005-01-28. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  3. David J. Bodenhamer; Robert Graham Barrows (November 1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. pp. 1151–. ISBN   978-0-253-31222-8 . Retrieved 9 February 2011.