Quantcast

Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 2 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Gunman takes 3 hostages at north Louisiana bank

By Holbrook Mohr

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:02 p.m. HST, Aug 13, 2013



ST. JOSEPH, La. » A gunman took three people hostage today at a bank in rural Louisiana and a state police negotiator was brought in to talk to the man, authorities said.

The man, armed with at least a handgun, took the people captive about 12:30 p.m. at the Tensas State Bank branch in St. Joseph, and the negotiator talked with him throughout the afternoon, said Trooper Albert Paxton, a state police spokesman.

The bank's employees are a man and two women tellers, said Mayor Edward Brown.

As a general rule, he said, the town's most notable crimes are the occasional drug busts, and some residents are so frightened about what's happening that they've left town.

"It's a quiet town. Very little crime. So this is amazing," Brown said.

The red brick bank is just off Louisiana Highway 128, a rural stretch of road cutting through cornfields, and across the street from a Trak convenience store in St. Joseph, the seat of Tensas Parish. The town of 1,200 is near the Mississippi River, downriver from Vicksburg, Miss., in northeast Louisiana.

Paxton said he didn't know whether the three hostages were bank employees or if any customers were inside.

He said he believed that a Trak convenience store across the street was evacuated, but there were few other occupied buildings within the perimeter that state police and the FBI set up.

Richardo Miles, a 25-year-old farmworker, said he lives about a half-mile from the bank. He sat on his bicycle at a roadblock near an abandoned hardware store about a quarter-mile away, watching dozens of first responders, including paramedics and heavily armed men in camouflage.

A helicopter circled overhead in the overcast sky for a time as men, some carrying assault rifles, gathered in the street in front of the bank. Law enforcement trucks also hauled in construction lights, apparently to prepare in case the standoff lasted into the night.

The sight of the state police bomb squad and SWAT team unnerved many people in the sleepy farm town, Miles said.

"It's kind of startling for the residents. We're not accustomed to this kind of activity," said Miles. "Some people are pretty scared. They're nervous."

Tensas Parish lies along the river, but St. Joseph is about a mile from the riverbank and about two miles from a 3,000-acre oxbow lake that long ago was one of the river's bends. Nearly one-third of the parish's 5,000 residents live under the federal poverty level, according to U.S. Census figures. Farmland makes up more than 45 percent of the 600-square-mile parish, with most of it in cotton, feed grains, soybeans and wheat.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 2 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(2)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
thepartyfirst wrote:
"gunman," some type of automatic weapon," why is the media using this type words?
on August 13,2013 | 12:34PM
EightOEight wrote:
Maybe because the hostage taker is a man with a gun and the state police and FBI are experienced enough to know and report that it's some kind do automatic weapon? How would you prefer "the media" to report it?
on August 13,2013 | 12:51PM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News