Bank employees of Wells Fargo in St. Cloud, Minnesota, were held hostage inside the bank, and police and FBI had successfully negotiated their release. The six hours standoff had the negotiators working late into the evening of Thursday. At least four hostages, all bank employees, were released shortly before 10 p.m. CT, according to The Associated Press.
St. Cloud Police initially responded to a report of a possible robbery in progress on Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Bank at 200-33rd Ave. S in St. Cloud, according to the police report. The attempted robbery turned into a hostage crisis that lasted for several hours.
“We can confirm a hostage situation at Wells Fargo’s St. Cloud South branch, located at 200 33rd Avenue South. We recognize this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues. The safety and security of our customers and employees is our most important priority,” said Staci Schiller, Wells Fargo spokesperson. “We are cooperating with local law enforcement and will do whatever we can to assist the authorities in their investigation.”
Spokeswoman Lt. Lori Ellering told Fox News that the police deployed all of their resources to the scene with the assistance of the FBI. The negotiators had been working to free all hostages.
In the videos posted to Twitter by a reporter for WCCO, Jeff Wagner, it can be seen that hostages were being released from the bank. In the footage, armed officers are huddled outside the bank as the individuals walk out and are led away from the building.
According to Wagner, just before 6:30 p.m, one hostage was released unharmed, then a second around 7:45 p.m., a third around 7:50 p.m., and the fourth was let out after 8 p.m, leaving one inside.
Hundreds of onlookers watched the situation unfold, and many erupted into cheers when some of the hostages were released. Shortly before 11:30 p.m. CT, the suspect was seen being led out of the bank.
Abdi Kadir, a St. Cloud resident, told the paper he was at the bank drive-through just before 2 p.m. when the teller told him to leave quickly. He said he saw people running out the bank’s front door as he drove off.