UPDATE: Fla. standoff ends as police sniper shoots one suspect, arrests other


KISSIMMEE, Florida (AP) -- A 10-hour standoff with two armed bank robbers ended Tuesday when police fatally shot one suspect and arrested the other, authorities said. Four hostages were unharmed.

The suspects had escaped the bank near Walt Disney World with one hostage Tuesday evening, but authorities cornered them in their getaway car, said Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell.

The male suspect then "used the hostage again as a shield to get into another vehicle," Hansell said. "He tried to leave again and at that point he was taken down by one of our snipers."

Deputies had been using cell phones to negotiate with the suspects, a man and a woman wearing masks, wigs and coats.

The standoff at the Mercantile Bank, a mile west of Disney, forced police to shut down the area, leaving some tourists confined to their hotels for much of the day.

The suspects held four hostages at one point, but released all but one by the time police blasted through the rear door of the bank using an explosive device.

The suspects then escaped with the hostage and drove away in a bank employee's car, but they traveled less than a mile before street barricades stopped them.

Shots were fired at deputies but nobody was hurt, police said.

The suspects had been holed up in the bank since Tuesday morning.

The first hostage was released when the robbers panicked when deputies arrived so quickly after the robbery, said sheriff's spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain.

The second was freed in exchange for cigarettes and the third after deputies agreed to back their vehicles a few feet farther away from the bank, Lizasuain said.

Lizasuain said none of the released hostages was hurt, and the suspects have said they don't intend to harm anyone.

The same bank was robbed November 16, and investigators are still looking for two suspects, Lizasuain said.

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KISSIMMEE, Florida -- Two robbers took three hostages Tuesday inside a bank near Walt Disney World, later freeing two of them during negotiations with sheriff's deputies, authorities said.

A SWAT team surrounded the Mercantile Bank during the standoff a mile from the amusement park.

A man identified as a bank employee was released, then a second hostage, a woman, was set free about five hours after the standoff began, authorities said.

The robbery at Mercantile Bank started at about 9:30 a.m. The standoff snarled traffic after deputies cordoned off the scene, a mile west of Walt Disney World in Osceola County's tourist corridor.

Calls to the bank were routed to a Mercantile call center, where a woman said she had no additional information.

The same bank was robbed November 16, and investigators are still looking for two suspects, but deputies don't think the two incidents are connected, Lizasuane said.

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By KELLI KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer

KISSIMMEE, Florida- Two suspected robbers took hostages Tuesday inside a bank near Walt Disney World, later freeing one of the captives after negotiating with sheriff's deputies, authorities said.

At least one more hostage remained inside the Mercantile Bank early in the afternoon; sheriff's spokeswoman Twis Lizasuane declined to say whether there could be more.

However, she said deputies believe no one inside has been hurt, and the suspects have said they don't intend to harm anyone.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said the released hostage was in good condition, but did not say whether he was a bank customer or employee.

The robbery at Mercantile Bank started at about 9:30 a.m. The standoff snarled traffic after deputies cordoned off the scene, a mile (1.6 kilometers) west of Walt Disney World.

Calls to the bank were routed to a Mercantile call center, where a woman said she had no additional information.

The same bank was robbed on Nov. 16 and investigators are still looking for two suspects, but deputies don't think the two incidents are connected, Lizasuane said.

 

The Associated Press

KISSIMMEE, Fla.- Sheriff's deputies surrounded a bank Tuesday where robbers were holding at least one person hostage, authorities said.

The robbery at Mercantile Bank started at about 9:30 a.m., Osceola County Sheriff's spokeswoman Twis Lisasuane said.

Citing concerns that information broadcast by the media would reach the suspects, Lisasuane declined to say how many robbers or hostages were inside _ or whether those being held were customers or employees.

The standoff snarled traffic after deputies cordoned off the scene, a mile west of Walt Disney World in Osceola County's tourist corridor.

Deputies were equipped with robots that could be sent to get video of the bank, but it was unclear whether they'd been immediately used.

Calls to the suburban Orlando bank were routed to a Mercantile call center, where a woman said she had no additional information.

The same bank was robbed Nov. 16, and investigators are still looking for two suspects, Lisasuane said.

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