NEW YORK -- A mentally disturbed man armed with a grenade and a suitcase he claimed contained a bomb held police at bay for almost 10 hours while hundreds of spectators watched Thursday before surrendering in a Brooklyn park, authorities said.
The standoff, which began on a busy street, drew large crowds of people who clapped, cheered and jeered as the man cursed, shouted and made obscene gestures at police and the crowd.
'Blow yourself up,' somespectators shouted at the man, who dropped his pants at one point.
George Dalton, 41, of Brooklyn, who was demanding $20,000 and passage to Saudi Arabia, began his holdout about 12:45 p.m. and surrendered about 10:25 p.m. in nearby Owl's Head Park, where he been driven in an explosive-proof bomb squad truck known as 'Big Bertha.'
A police spokesman said early Friday the grenade was a dud. But he said that because of 'safety concerns' explosives experts planned to wait until after daylight to examine the suitcase, which was at the police bomb disposal site in the Bronx.
Police persuaded Dalton, who threatened to detonate the suitcase, to give it up and climb aboard the truck.
But Dalton appeared on the verge of throwing the grenade at one point, when he realized two Emergency Service cops were creeping across the roof of the bomb squad truck.
Jumping from the ledge of the truck, Dalton cursed and brandished the grenade as 25 cops near the vehicle backed off.
He later returned to the truck and was driven to the park.
There, he sat on the back of the truck clutching the grenade -- its pin removed.
Police said Dalton talked about his continued unemployment, his love of President Reagan and his belief that the country was going 'downhill.'
A police negotiator said Dalton finally decided to surrender when police convinced him he 'wasn't going to go anywhere.'
The crowd cheered loudly when he finally surrendered. Police took Dalton's suitcase and the grenade to a firing range for examination.
Earlier, Dalton's brother, John, 27, tried to talk the former subway worker into surrendering, but Dalton began screaming.
Dalton, who used a crutch and whose left ankle was in a cast, told police he had a plunger attached to the crutch and a wire running to the suitcase to detonate the explosives.
Before was taken to the park, he stretched out on the sidewalk in front of a row of stores, smoked cigarettes, drank beer and swallowed pills as he waited for officials to comply with his demands.
Police said Dalton had a history of mental illness.
The siege began when Dalton commandeered a bus, ordered the passengers off the bus and told the driver to take him to a nearby hospital, police said.
The unidentified driver also escaped by telling Dalton he had to get his supervisor's permission to change his route. Dalton allowed the driver to leave.
The driver did not return.
Dalton hobbled off the bus and stationed himself in front of a row of stores, where he remained until he was taken to the park.
Allan Israel, a pharmacist two doors from the siege, said Dalton had come into his store Wednesday and was 'loud and boisterous.'
'He came in my pharmacy yesterday to ask where he could get plaster of Paris,' Israel said. 'He was despondent about a doctor who wanted to charge him $80 for a cast and he was going to make his own.'
'He seemed like a typical nut, but he didn't seem dangerous yesterday. Today he sure is,' Israel said.