The attorney for a Columbia man who police said held three people hostage at a savings and loan office Wednesday has requested that his client be given a psychiatric examination to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Attorney Richard J. Kinlein said he expects the examination of 33-year-old Kenneth Robert Welk Jr. of the 10000 block of Owen Brown Road in Columbia to be conducted within 45 days.

He said a report on his client should be available within 30 daysof the examination.

Welk is being held without bond at the countydetention center.

According to police, Welk entered the Washington Federal Savings and Loan in Ellicott City brandishing two loaded handguns moments after he and his estranged wife, Michele, had an argument in the parking lot about his visitation rights to their 6-year-old daughter.

Welk then took his wife, who is a teller, and two other employees, hostage, police said.

His wife escaped through a sidedoor a couple of hours later after asking to use the restroom.

The other hostages were released one at a time -- the first at 5 p.m., the second just before 6, police reported.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

Kinlein, who is a friend of the family in addition to being Welk'sattorney, said he doesn't think Welk planned tohurt anybody.

"He was venting his frustrations in an inappropriate way," he said, "and things got out of control, out of hand, and he didn't know how to handle it."

Kinlein said Welk is fortunate he wasn't killed.

"I was told that one of the police snipers said he could pick (Welk) off, but Lt. Wayne Livesay stepped in immediately and said, 'No! You do not have permission to do that.' "

Kinlein said that although his client was afraid of some overreaction by the police, the officers assigned to the case were "outstanding -- kind, considerate, and very professional."

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