11 freed after robber takes hostages at Florida bank

Eleven hostages have been freed from a credit union in the Florida city of Jacksonville where they were held at gunpoint by a robbery suspect.

The sheriff's office said in a tweet that the hostages were freed about two hours after their ordeal began and that the suspect was in custody.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda had said an initial 911 call reporting a bank robbery came in at 9:06am local time.

A short time later, another call indicated that someone may have been shot, but the sheriff's office has been unable to confirm that.

She said Swat team members and police negotiators were called in.

No hostages were shot, and initial reports saying otherwise were not true, the sheriff's office said later.

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 Ms 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.

Ms 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 north west Jacksonville business district.

- AP


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