CONCORD, N.H. – Dan Nagy came close to being one of the hostages held at Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign office, and during the confrontation he spoke to one of his terrified co-workers who wasn't as lucky, but he plans to be back doing volunteer work when the office reopens.
If it hadn't been for a doctor's appointment, Nagy would have been volunteering at Clinton's office in Rochester on Friday afternoon, when a man with what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his chest walked in and took several hostages.
Nagy said he and his sister called a young woman who often supervises volunteers at Clinton's Rochester office, and the woman cried into the phone as she told Nagy she was being held by a man wearing what appeared to be explosives.
"He promises not to hurt us," she said.
The confrontation ended hours later with no one hurt. Leeland Eisenberg, 46, of Somersworth, was arrested and faces arraignment Monday on charges of kidnapping and reckless conduct, authorities said. He was being held without bail.
Nagy, who did not want to publicly identify the woman he spoke with, said he asked her a series of questions.
"Are you all right?" "Yes," she responded.
"Does he have a gun?" he asked. "No," she said.
"Does he have some type of explosive device around him?" "Yes," the woman said.
"Just hearing her voice — she was crying — and I couldn't get in there," Nagy said. "She's just a sweet young lady."
Nagy said he called the woman four or five times, and each time relayed what he learned to police.
According to police, Eisenberg walked into the office shortly before 1 p.m. with what turned out to be road flares strapped to his chest and demanded to speak to Clinton, who was in Washington. He took several hostages, but let a woman with an infant go immediately. About two hours later, at least one other woman escaped, and two others made it out later, the last about half an hour before Eisenberg surrendered shortly after 6 p.m.
Eisenberg had one of the hostages call CNN three times, and he spoke to CNN staffers during the standoff, the network reported after the ordeal was over. Eisenberg said he wanted help getting psychiatric care, but had been turned away because he didn't have the money.
The standoff began about half an hour before he was scheduled to appear in court on a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife, who was seeking a divorce. In court papers, she said he suffered from "severe alcohol and drug abuse" and had threatened her.
Eisenberg was one of more than 500 victims of the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal who received payments in a landmark 2003 settlement with the Boston Archdiocese, The Boston Globe reported Saturday.
In a 2002 lawsuit in Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court, Eisenberg sued former Archbishop Bernard Law, alleging that a priest at St. Catherine Church in Westford, Mass., molested him in the early 1980s. The priest denied abusing Eisenberg.
"The archdiocese has a long-standing policy and commitment to keep confidential any personal information relating to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. As such, we would not comment on any survivor or person named as a survivor," Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said Saturday.
Eisenberg's lawyer in the clergy abuse case did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. Jeffery Strelzin, a senior assistant New Hampshire attorney general, said he did not know if Eisenberg had a lawyer to speak for him in the current case.
Nagy, who lives in Dover, said he and his sister have been volunteering at Clinton's office for several months. He said he never worried about violence before Friday and wouldn't in the future despite what happened.
"I think it was just an isolated incident," he said.