More than eight hours after it began, a hostage situation at a bank in St. Cloud, Minnesota ended Thursday night without any injuries, police said.
The last hostage was seen on video appearing to run and then stumble out of the Wells Fargo branch bank around 10:20 p.m. local time (11:20 p.m. ET).
Law enforcement officers with helmets and other gear were then seen entering the bank, and a man was taken out in handcuffs and placed in a police vehicle.
There were no injuries to anyone in the ordeal, which began around 1:50 p.m. when police responded to a report of a possible robbery, police Lt. Lori Ellering said.
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson called the peaceful resolution “the best possible outcome we could have had.”
Suspect in custody after hours-long standoff in Minnesota bank
May 7, 202102:21
He said at a news conference that the suspect, Ray Reco McNeary, had a prior dispute with the bank.
The hostages were released or left one at a time starting around 6:30 p.m., NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis reported.
The FBI in Minneapolis assisted, and officials in vests with FBI markings were seen outside the bank looking in and occasionally making hand gestures as the night went on. After the situation ended, two of them were seen shaking hands and hugging. Onlookers cheered at the outcome.
The bank first called 911 out of concern for the safety of employees and patrons over a customer who was upset, Anderson said. Then a panic alarm was sounded indicating a robbery, he said.
When police arrived, five bank employees were being held hostage, and McNeary asked police to call the FBI, he said.
Anderson said some hostages were released, and others ran for it.
It is not clear if the suspect was armed
Anderson said police were not sure during the situation, and a weapon had not been found but the investigation is ongoing and the building was still being searched late Thursday.
During the situation, officials made contact with the McNeary “in every way possible,” including through notes placed against the window of the bank’s drive-through, the police chief said.
Wells Fargo in a statement earlier confirmed the hostage situation and said it was fully cooperating with authorities.
“We recognize this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues,” Wells Fargo said. “The safety and security of our customers and employees is our most important priority.”
McNeary was being held on charges related to bank robbery and kidnapping, police said, but formal charging decisions have not yet been made.
St. Cloud is a city of around 68,000 around 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis.