“A peaceful resolution, was the best outcome we could have today,” Blair Anderson, Chief of the St Cloud Police said at a news conference late Thursday.
Describing the suspect,Ray Reco McNeary as a “disgruntled customer,” the police said he was upset “about a prior transaction with the bank in a prior dispute.”
Mr McNeary has been held on charges related to bank robbery and kidnapping, said the police chief.
Police received the call from the branch manager of Wells Fargo slightly before 2pm .
“The branch manager called [the police] because he was concerned for his own safety and the safety of the customers and the employees who were in the bank at the time,” said Mr Anderson.
“When we got there we discovered that several people had already fled the bank while the five bank employees remained and were held hostage.”
It was then that the suspect asked police to call the FBI. The tactical team ad crisis negotiation team of the federal agency were in an open negotiation with Mr McNeary before he started releasing hostages one by one.
At about 7:45pm, a second hostage was released. Five minutes later, at 7:50pm, he released the third hostage and the fourth hostage was released at 8pm.
“That collaborative effort, those relationships… those were valuable to us today,” Mr Anderson said of the quick response from the FBI.
The police chief further said that while there are reports that the hostages were held at the gunpoint, it is still not clear if Mr McNeary had a weapon and that the investigators are still searching the building.
Mr Anderson further said that the “police has had numerous contact” with the suspect “dating back at least a decade, including violent crime”.