Man holding hostages at Texas hospital: Sheriff's office

WASHINGTON - A man believed to be the father of a patient has taken at least two people hostage at a Texas hospital Saturday, authorities said, though it was not immediately clear if he was armed.

The Harris County Sheriff's office indicated around 8:00 pm (0100 GMT) that it had deployed its High Risk Operation Unit to Tomball Regional Medical Center outside Houston.

"At this time preliminary information is that a man is holding at least two people hostage inside the hospital," the sheriff's office said on its website.

"It is unknown at this time whether he is armed." Local NBC television affiliate KPRC-TV cited witnesses inside the medical centre as saying the hospital had been shut down as authorities tried to defuse the crisis.