AP NEWS

Suspect surrenders after taking hostage at Illinois bank

January 4, 2020 GMT

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An armed robbery suspect surrendered to police after holding a woman hostage at an Illinois bank for more than six hours.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said at a news conference that the suspect “willingly” walked out of the Heritage Credit Union around 9 p.m. CST Friday. The hostage came outside with the suspect and was quickly ushered away by officers.

O’Shea said the hostage was a bank employee and she was taken to a hospital to determine if she had been injured.

Authorities have not released the suspect’s identity.

Officials said negotiators from the Rockford police department and the FBI were talking to the suspect during the incident. A Winnebago County SWAT team was also brought to the scene.

The suspect had existing warrants out for his arrest in Winnebago County, which is where Rockford is located, O’Shea said without elaborating. He added that a weapon was recovered from the suspect.

The police chief said the robbery and hostage situation appeared to be random. He said investigators don’t believe the bank employee was targeted.

Police surrounded the credit union in Rockford, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northwest of Chicago, at around 2:30 p.m. CST.

O’Shea said earlier Friday that the man entered the facility and demanded that people leave the building, but not everyone was able to get out.

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Rockford is considered to be the largest Illinois city outside the Chicago area, with a population of roughly 147,000.