Police cordoned off part of downtown Monday in this small southeast Georgia college town after an attorney was taken hostage in his office near City Hall. The two suspects, a man and a woman, told police they were armed with an explosive device.

Eleven hours after the incident occurred, police were still trying to negotiate with two suspects. Trooper Larry Schnall, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol, said a SWAT team was sent to the scene.

A woman who answered the phone Monday at the office of Zettler Hostilo & Register LLP, where the lawyer taken hostage apparently works, said the office was closed and hung up.

There were initially three hostages, but two were released unharmed, said Maggie Fitzgerald, a city spokeswoman.

"They are upset with some legal issues within the recent past and want to get those issues resolved," Fitzgerald said of the suspects without elaborating. She did say the man the suspects are holding is unharmed.

The suspects, a man and a woman, say they are armed with an improvised explosive device, Fitzgerald said.

Statesboro, a city of 22,000 that is home to Georgia Southern University, is 225 miles southeast of Atlanta. The community's Martin Luther King Day parade, which was to pass by the county courthouse near the scene, was canceled because of the standoff.