A bank robbery suspect surrendered and released 11 hostages, ending a dramatic armed standoff that lasted hours Thursday morning in Jacksonville, Fla., investigators confirmed.
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The unnamed suspect had pointed his gun at hostages’ heads and made a series of demands, Sheriff Mike Williams said. He told reporters the demands included money and bringing family members to the scene at the Community First Credit Union.
One of the hostages texted a friend to say the suspect appeared nervous, Fox 30 reported.
It was unclear whether anybody was hurt. Investigators denied initial reports that people were shot. Officers used a battering ram to break down the bank’s front door as the standoff ended.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported that it would not immediately identify the suspect, saying a name given by the sheriff during a news conference was incorrect.
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The suspect was likely to face charges including armed kidnapping and robbery, the sheriff added, saying the suspect did not work at the bank. He brought a dog inside, Williams said, adding that the animal was safe after the standoff.
Aerial video showed several hostages slowly walking out of the bank some two hours after the standoff began. The hostages apparently included employees and customers.
Latasha Sherman told Fox 30 her 18-year-old son was working inside the bank — and that hours after she started trying to call him, he texted her back saying he was safe. She said he’d been working at the bank for just a few months.
Law enforcement officers ordered people to evacuate the area while the hostage situation was under way.
Two 911 calls initially came in — one reporting a robbery, and one reporting gunfire, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda told reporters.