Two hostages shot at Louisiana bank, police kill suspect

Two hostages shot at Louisiana bank, police kill suspect
A hostage-taking situation at a bank in rural Louisiana ended in tragedy as one of the two shot hostages has died, while the hostage taker was shot and killed by police.

Louisiana State Police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said that during negotiations with law enforcement officers, the suspect, identified as 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed, said he was going to kill the remaining hostages, AP reported.

Police stormed the bank just before midnight Tuesday in a rescue operation.

Edmonson says that's when Ahmed shot the two hostages and then state police shot and killed him. The hostages were taken from the scene in critical condition, he added. 

Edmonson said he didn't have any information regarding the hostage who died. The condition of the other hostage has not been disclosed.

The gunman took two women and a man captive about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Tensas State Bank branch in St. Joseph, a small town of barely 1,000 people . He released one of the female hostages as the negotiations passed the nine-hour mark.

The situation began at approximately 12:00 pm CST when the man entered the Tensas State Bank in St. Joseph, Louisiana apparently attempting to rob it. For reasons unknown he remained inside, taking three employees – two women and one man – hostage.  The hostages’ names have not been made available to the public.

A bomb squad, SWAT team, and over a hundred law enforcement vehicles were on the scene, AP reported. The Louisiana State Police told local media KNOE that a five-mile flight restriction zone was enforced around the building.  

We have enough individuals here to take as long as we need to make sure that our goal is achieved, and that’s to get these hostages out safely,” Louisiana State Police Colonel Michael Edmonson told CNN. “They are the most important to me…And, of course, the (gunman) himself is last.” 

The gunman had made demands, although investigators would not disclose any further details. 

The employees spent much of the day handcuffed inside the building and held at gunpoint according to Concordia Parish Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick, who dispatched officers to the scene and spoke with the Mississippi Natchez Democrat.

Authorities arrested a man early in the day for breaking through a police barrier and attempting to gain entry to the bank. They said he was not detained in connection with the hostage situation but thought to be the brother of the suspect inside. 

St. Joseph is located down the river from Vicksburg, Mississippi in north-eastern Louisiana. Approximately one-third of the 5,000 people living in Tensas Parish, which surrounds St. Joseph, live beneath the federal poverty line. 

Officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security descended on the normally sleepy town as news of the crisis quickly spread. Buildings near the bank, including the suspect’s family’s store just across the street, were evacuated so police could set up a perimeter. 

 “It’s kind of startling for the residents. We’re not accustomed to this kind of activity,” Ricardo Miles, a local farmworker, told the Associated Press. “Some people are pretty scared. They’re nervous.”

Law enforcement officials had assembled construction lights in anticipation that the negotiations would proceed into the night.

Meanwhile, police in nearby Eunice, Louisiana are investigating another robbery at Basile State Bank earlier Tuesday at around 10 AM local time. Whether the two crimes are related is unknown, although investigators say the suspect – described as a Hispanic male wearing dark clothing and a bandanna over his face – made away with an undisclosed amount of money. They were unaware if he was armed. 

The banks are separated by approximately 150 miles.