11 Hostages in Florida Bank Freed Unharmed; Gunman in Custody


Eleven hostages held at gunpoint by a bank robber in a north Florida credit union were freed two hours after their ordeal began Thursday, authorities said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “We have 11 hostages out” about two hours after the robbery of the Community First Credit Union began. The suspect was in custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

Contrary to initial reports, no hostages were shot, the sheriff’s office said.

An initial 911 call reporting a bank robbery came in at 9:06 a.m.

SWAT team members and police negotiators arrived at the scene a short time later, said Melissa Bujeda, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

Streets surrounding the bank were blocked off by police, and Bujeda urged those unable to get to work during the ordeal to be patient.

“Situations like these sometimes can be short and sometimes can be long,” she said.

Bujeda also had urged local TV reporters not to show their positions around the credit union during the hostages’ ordeal because that could pose “a danger to officers as well as the individuals in the bank.”

The bank is located in a northwest Jacksonville commercial district.

Updated Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11:58 am