What should have been an ordinary day running an errand at the bank escalated into a frightening situation this Thursday morning. Eleven people were held hostage during a bank robbery in Jacksonville, Florida. The tense scenario finally came to a peaceful end after two hours. So what happened in Jacksonville? At 9:06 a.m. ET, a call came in to 911 about a bank robbery at Community First Credit Union, Newsday reports. Police arrived quickly on the scene and began negotiations.
SWAT team members rescued the hostages at 11. a.m. ET, News4Jax reported. None of the hostages were harmed.
Initial reports that a shot was fired, possibly at one of the hostages, were incorrect.
Throughout the negotiations, the robber released some of the hostages, according to a video from Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, which was posted on the police department's Facebook page. However, he continued to threaten the lives of the hostages, and even placed a gun on the back of at least one hostage's head, Williams reported. The suspect also made demands for some of his family members to be present.
The SWAT team was able to enter the bank because the robber was distracted when two people he didn't realize were hiding in the bank escaped, Williams said. The suspect was then taken into custody by the SWAT team and has yet to be identified, FOX News 13 reports.
The area surrounding the hostage situation was blocked off by police, making driving in the area difficult. "Situations like these sometimes can be short and sometimes can be long," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesperson Melissa Bujeda said in a statement, Newsday reported.
Hostage situations are resolved peacefully up to 90 percent of the time, Randall Rogan, an expert in crisis negotiation, said in an interview that can be found at Newswise. Still, because it's not always clear what the suspects' (or suspect's) motives may be, the fact the events in Jacksonville did not end violently is something that can't be taken for granted.
John Hirabayashi, CEO of Community First Credit Union, spoke of his gratitude that no one was harmed during the press conference with Jacksonville police.
We are just so very thankful this hostage situation ended up resolving itself in a safe way for everybody. Clearly, our hearts and prayers are with the families and the membership who were involved with this, but we are very thankful also that JSO, the SWAT team, the negotiators did a fine job of bringing this to a resolution.
The suspect will likely face charges for armed robbery and armed kidnapping, police officials reported.
A woman whose sister works at the bank told News4Jax about how how scary it was hearing her sister was a hostage, and that she saw her sister being rescued after arriving on the scene:
"Once I saw her it was a relief to know that God brought her out of this situation," she said. "Not just her, but everybody who was in that bank.”