Fla. bank standoff ends with one suspect dead, the other arrested


By KELLI KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer

KISSIMMEE, Florida- A bank robber who was fatally shot, ending a 10-hour police standoff, had threatened to kill himself and his last hostage in his final moments, the Osceola County sheriff said Wednesday.

A sniper killed the male suspect and a female suspect was taken into custody, said Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell. Four hostages were not injured.

The suspects had escaped the Mercantile Bank, a mile (1.6 kilometers) west of Walt Disney World, with one hostage after authorities blasted through the rear door using an explosive device. But police soon cornered them in their getaway car, authorities said.

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."

Investigators identified the woman as Amanda Lynn Moeller, 26. Her initial court appearance Wednesday was postponed after questions arose about her identity. She was being held without bond.

The suspect killed by police was Gaetano Alessandrello, 50, authorities said.

The suspects had been holed up in the bank since Tuesday morning. The first hostage was released when the robbers panicked after deputies arrived 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.

The suspects used the last hostage as a shield to escape in a bank employee's car, but deputies flattened their tires.

"That's when he threatened, 'Everybody's going to go with me,'" Hansell said. "We knew right then that he was not going to go mobile again because that just increases the risk to the hostage."

The male suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies arrested the female suspect and recovered the money.

The same bank had been robbed Nov. 16, and investigators were still looking for two suspects, Lizasuain said. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the two robberies are connected.

______________________-

By KELLI KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer

Police fatally shot an armed bank robbery suspect and arrested a second one after a 10-hour standoff that forced police to shut down the area, leaving some tourists confined to their hotels for much of the day.

A sniper killed the male suspect while a female suspect was in custody, said Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell. Four hostages were not injured.

The suspects had escaped the Mercantile Bank, a mile west of Walt Disney World, with one hostage after authorities blasted through the rear door using an explosive device. But police soon cornered them in their getaway car, authorities said.

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, who were wearing masks, wigs and coats.

The hostages said they were treated well and were not threatened with violence, Hansell said.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspects ever got any money.

Around 7:15 p.m., police blasted through the bank's rear door. The suspects escaped with a female 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.

Police did not release the names of the suspects or the hostages.

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

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