Florida bank robbery: Suspect in custody after taking 11 people hostage in Jacksonville

One man armed with a gun and his dog burst into the bank just after 9am, said the sheriff. Nobody was hurt

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The Independent US

One male suspect is in custody after 11 people were taken hostage at a bank in Jacksonville, Florida.

The hostages were detained for several hours, while members of a SWAT team were at the scene.

They were released just after 11am ET from the Community First Credit Union, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda.

She said an initial 911 call just after 9am indicated someone may have been shot, but later confirmed that no one had been injured.

Sheriff Mike Williams said at a press conference that an armed individual entered the bank with his dog and talked with police "a little bit".

The suspect is facing potential charges of bank robbery, armed kidnapping, multiple cases of aggravated assault, he said.

The sheriff spelt out the wrong name of the suspect - a young, black man who lived locally - then his department later tweeted they had given the wrong name.

The mother of the false suspect said her son had been at home with her during the incident.

The sheriff said the suspect "made different demands, requesting family members to be at the scene, that type of thing. He did, through negotiations - again, this was not really a long incident - but he did through negotiations release a couple of the hostages but he also continued to threaten people inside the bank.

"He threatened to kill hostages multiple times. We had verifiable information that he was actually putting the gun to the back of the hostages’ heads at a couple points.

"Based on that, those threats and that activity escalated this event, it became more and more intense event."

He said two people, who were hiding in the bank unknown to the hostage-taker, fled the building and distracted the suspect.

The swat team then burst in, placing themselves between the suspect and the hostages. He was then taken into custody, he said.

John Hirabayashi, the bank CEO and president, said he was “extremely relieved”. He said the swat team “did a fine job” in resolving the incident and said his thoughts and prayers were with the families and membership affected.

“As you can imagine they [the hostages] are shaken up,” added the sheriff.