An hourslong hostage situation at a Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, Minnesota, resolved peacefully with no casualties after all five captives were released and a suspect was taken into custody late on Thursday.
“A peaceful resolution, the best outcome we could have today,” St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said late on Thursday at a news conference after more than eight hours since police were called to the incident, the St. Cloud Times reported.
St. Cloud police said they were dispatched to the bank at 200 33rd Avenue South around 1:50 p.m. regarding a report of a possible robbery.
The suspect was identified as Ray Reco McNeary, according to multiple reports. Anderson told reporters that McNeary was a customer who was upset about a transaction, according to St. Cloud Times. The branch manager reported the matter to the police who received the alert shortly after.
Five bank employees were held hostage inside the building, Anderson said. A SWAT team and FBI agents were on the scene on Thursday afternoon helping St. Cloud police with negotiations with McNeary to release all of the hostages.
One hostage was released just before 6:30 p.m. local time and another hostage was released around 7:00 p.m., according to local reports. Both were female, according to video footage shared by a reporter for a local TV station.
“It appears a hostage was released from the bank, followed by someone throwing a wad of cash out the door,” WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner wrote on Twitter, where a video showed a woman leaving the bank. He later posted another video of the second woman being released and led outside the bank.
Anderson told reporters that some hostages were released by McNeary while others made a run for the door and successfully fled, including the fifth and final hostage. When the final hostage made it out of the door around 10:20 p.m., St. Cloud police and FBI tactical teams entered the door at the same time and arrested McNeary.
It was unclear whether McNeary had any weapon and investigators were still at the bank while the press conference was underway, Anderson noted. He said that McNeary had an extensive criminal history that goes back about a decade and was due in court on Thursday related to a violent offense.
A spokesperson for Wells Fargo previously said that the bank was cooperating with local law enforcement and recognized that the situation was “a traumatic moment” for the community and Wells Fargo staff.
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall told the press conference that her office is communicating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to clarify agency will file charges against McNeary, reported WCCO. The charges are expected to include bank robbery and kidnapping.