Long standoff with gunman holding hostage in Illinois bank ends peacefully

Long standoff with gunman holding hostage in Illinois bank ends peacefully originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

A six-hour standoff between Illinois police and a suspected bank robber ended peacefully Friday night when the suspect released the hostage he was holding and surrendered to authorities, police said.

The standoff began at around 2:30 Friday afternoon when an armed man entered a Heritage Credit Union branch in Rockford, about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.

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The man told several people to leave but held a female employee at gunpoint, police said.

When police arrived on the scene, the man barricaded himself in the building. Local police and FBI negotiators then made contact with the man by phone and worked for several hours to try to get him to surrender, while a SWAT team maintained a perimeter around the area.

PHOTO: Law enforcement personnel stand guard as an armed man barricaded himself inside an Illinois bank and took a hostage during a robbery Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 in Rockford, Ill. (Scott P. Yates/AP)

PHOTO: Law enforcement personnel stand guard as an armed man barricaded himself inside an Illinois bank and took a hostage during a robbery Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 in Rockford, Ill. (Scott P. Yates/AP)

PHOTO: Law enforcement personnel stand guard as an armed man barricaded himself inside an Illinois bank and took a hostage during a robbery Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 in Rockford, Ill. (Scott P. Yates/AP)

After more than six hours, negotiators were able to convince the man to free the hostage at around 9 p.m., and the suspect exited the building moments later.

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Officers got the woman away from the suspect, then took the man into custody without further incident. A firearm was recovered from the suspect, authorities said.

"We always want every situation to end peacefully. We try to resolve it in as quick a time as we can," said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea. "At the end he did come out of the building willingly, while speaking with the crisis negotiators."

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The woman was taken to the hospital to be examined for injuries.

The suspect, who had existing warrants from Illinois' Winnebago County, appeared to have no prior connection to the woman he took hostage, said police.

Charges against the suspect were pending, authorities said.

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