Four hostages released as stand-off continues at Minnesota bank

Officers stand near an entrance to the Wells Fargo branch (AP)
5:19am, Fri 07 May 2021
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Four bank employees were released as a stand-off between an alleged hostage-taker and police continued in Minnesota.

Three women and a man were released from a Wells Fargo Bank branch in St Cloud, according to authorities.

The first woman ran from the bank toward members of a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team with her hands up.

She was searched and escorted to safety, with two women and a man later emerging from the bank and also taken to safety.

Minnesota-Bank-Robbery (AP)

It was not immediately clear if other bank employees were being held against their will.

The incident began with a report to police of a robbery in progress, with law enforcement officials initially saying an unspecified number of hostages were being held by a male suspect.

Police said later on Thursday that negotiations were continuing with the suspect and there were no reports of injuries.

St Cloud resident Abdi Kadir told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he was in the bank drive-through when the teller hurriedly told him to leave. As he drove off, he saw people running out the bank’s front door, he said.

Minnesota-Bank-Robbery (AP)

“We recognise this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.

Company spokeswoman Staci Schiller confirmed “a hostage situation” at the bank’s south branch.

She said bank officials were cooperating with local law enforcement and would do whatever they could to assist the authorities.

Two armoured vehicles were stationed near the bank’s front door along with several armed officers.

Police moved onlookers away from the bank, but a crowd gathered across the street to watch the incident unfold.

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