January 13, 2001 Saturday Final Edition Copyright 2001 DR Partners d/b Las Vegas Review-Journal Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV) January 13, 2001 Saturday Final Edition By J.M. Kalil Review-Journal
(LAS VEGAS) -- A man claiming to have a duffel bag full of poisonous nerve gas canisters held workers hostage inside a southeast Las Vegas Valley bank Friday evening before surrendering to authorities after a3 hour standoff. Authorities were still investigating the contents of the bag late Friday.
Las Vegas police and FBI agents said early in the evening that the man's claim of possessing deadly sarin gas was not likely credible. However, authorities took the threat seriously enough to close a half-mile stretch of Flamingo Road -- choking traffic for hours -- and evacuate a 300-footperimeter of commercial buildings and retail businesses around the bank near Spencer Street.
Police identified the man as 27-year-old Luke Andrew Davis of Salem, Ore. According to police, Davis, clad in a sweatshirt, jeans and black baseball cap, entered the First Security Bank, 1620E. Flamingo Road, about 5:30 p.m. He was the last customer in the bank. Employees noticed him behaving suspiciously and sounded a silent alarm.
Davis then approached a teller, demanded that the building's doors be locked and said he wanted to talk to the FBI. After interviews with witnesses, police said it was unclear whether Davis stated any intention to rob the bank.
About 6:05 p.m., Davis released the first of seven hostages, all of whom were bank employees.
About 8 p.m., after talks with the Metropolitan Police Department's crisis negotiator, the man released the rest of the hostages one at a time before surrendering himself about 9 p.m.
Sgt. Chris Darcy said police arrested Davis on seven counts of kidnapping, but added that if Davis was attempting to rob the bank, the case would be transferred to the FBI and would be prosecuted in federal court.
In March 1995, members of a Japanese cult placed plastic bags of diluted sarin on crowded subway trains in Tokyo during the morning rush hour. That attack killed 12 and sickened thousands.