SWAT team rescues Florida bank robbery hostages

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Will Dickey--
Police officers escort hostages safely across Edgewood Avenue West after a gunman held them during an attempted robbery at Community First Credit Union Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say 11 hostages have been freed from a credit union in Jacksonville, Florida, where they were held at gunpoint by a robbery suspect.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet Thursday that the hostages were freed about two hours after their ordeal began and that the suspect was in custody.

Authorities say a gunman threatened some of the 11 people held hostage before they were rescued by SWAT team members.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams says that after the suspect on Thursday put his gun to the back of the head of one hostage, SWAT team members had resolved to storm the bank at the first opportunity.

Williams says that moment came when two people who had been hiding inside the bank unbeknown to the suspect made a run for it, distracting the gunman. SWAT team members then rushed into the Community First Credit Union and put themselves between the suspect and hostages, according to the sheriff.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says none of the 11 hostages held at gunpoint by a bank robbery suspect in north Florida were shot.

The sheriff’s office said in a tweet Thursday that initial reports that a hostage had been shot inside the Community First Credit Union were inaccurate.

The sheriff’s office says the handgun-carrying suspect was taken into custody after the release of the hostages.

 

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