WYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP) -- At least three people have left a small-town Virginia post office including a man in a wheelchair who is being searched.

The three left the building in Wytheville (WITH-vill) after authorities ordered a man holding hostages to surrender.

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Authorities are not saying if one of the people was the suspect.

Authorities had been negotiating with the unidentified suspect to release the hostages who had been held since mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Shots were fired earlier, but there were no reports of injuries. Relatives say the hostages have been able to contact them by phone.

Wytheville is a town of about 8,500 in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.