Standoff on rooftop of La. bank ends peacefully

Bob Anderson; Florida Parishes Bureau
The Advocate
Copyright 2006 Capital City Press
All Rights Reserved

DENHAM SPRINGS- A downtown chase of two armed men turned into a standoff Monday morning as one of the men sat atop the Capital One Bank building, smoked cigarettes and cleaned a pistol in sight of a Sheriff's Special Response team, authorities said.

The second suspect, whom deputies captured during the initial pursuit, kicked through a sheriff's vehicle window and led authorities on a second chase, Livingston Parish Sheriff Willie Graves said.

Deputies and police said they eventually took both men into custody without injury.

The chase began about 5:45 a.m. when a deputy on patrol noticed two men carrying backpacks along the railroad track that runs through downtown.

The men fled when they saw the deputy, Graves said.

Deputies caught Robert Connor, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a patrol unit.

While their attention was diverted by the chase for the second man, Connor kicked his way out of the unit and fled, only to be recaptured within 10 minutes, authorities said.

The second suspect, Ryan Russell, ran through an alley and climbed to the top of the bank, Graves said.

The Special Response Team, other deputies and police from several agencies took positions around the bank, between Range Avenue and Hummell Street, and diverted downtown traffic. Officials moved some residents out, under cover, and instructed others to shelter in place, Police Chief Jeff Wesley said.

District 5 firefighters positioned a ladder truck so SRT members could climb to the roof of the bank and adjacent buildings to keep Russell in a confined spot on the east side of the bank, Wesley said.

Russell waved his pistol and put it to his temple on several occasions, the police chief said.

Two deputies and a Denham Springs police officer, trained in standoff negotiations, spoke with Russell and honored his request for cigarettes and water, Wesley said.

Shortly after 8 a.m., they convinced him to surrender, authorities said.

"Nobody was hurt, so it was a good day," Wesley said.

Authorities recovered two backpacks containing stolen items, the police chief said, adding the investigation of the source of some of the items remains ongoing.

Detective Sgt. Chad West of the Denham Springs Police Department said authorities booked Russell, 22, 4851 Bankers Lane, Baton Rouge, on illegal possession of a stolen firearm, terrorizing, criminal trespassing, illegal possession of stolen things, illegal carrying of a weapon, resisting arrest and as a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

They booked Connor, 18, 8954 Lockhart Road, Denham Springs, on illegal carrying of a weapon, illegal possession of stolen things, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest by flight, simple escape, criminal damage to property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 
June 6, 2006

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