Atlanta (CNN) -- The barricaded suspect in the slaying of an Athens, Georgia, police officer released four of eight hostages Friday night, said Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Keenan said the GBI is in contact with the suspect, who authorities have identified as Jamie Donnell Hood.
Hoping to get a message to Hood via local newscasts, Keenan said, "I want to commit to you, if you come out without a weapon, you will not be harmed."
"We have a good rapport with him," Keenan said of Hood, who was in an apartment.
Hood is wanted in connection to Tuesday's slaying of Senior Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian, 34, and the wounding of Senior Police Officer Tony Howard, 43.
"It is our objective to have the safe release of the persons that are in the apartment with him, and then to have the safe surrender of Mr. Hood," Keenan told reporters earlier.
John Bankhead, a GBI spokesman, said Hood has asked negotiators to bring his mother to the scene. He and Keenan both said that children are among the hostages.
Keenan would not say how long the hostages had been held and declined to provide any further details.
"There's too much at stake here," he said.
The incident began Tuesday afternoon on the east side of the city when a vehicle was carjacked, said Hilda Sorrow, a police spokeswoman. Hood, who was believed to be involved, was later seen as a passenger in another vehicle, a red SUV, she said.
When Howard stopped that SUV near Sycamore Drive and Atlanta Highway, the man believed to be Hood got out and began shooting, police said. As the gunman ran off, he came across Christian's patrol car, Sorrow said, and fired into the vehicle.
On foot, the gunman eventually reached a highway and carjacked a Chevrolet Prizm, police said. It was later found abandoned, Sorrow said.
According to police, Hood is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 175 pounds. He has several tattoos, including "Robert/Dad" on his right arm and "Mom/Azale" and a heart on his left arm. He was last seen wearing a white shirt with a yellow design and blue jean shorts.
Athens, about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, is home to the University of Georgia.
CNN's Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.