Hostages ‘fine,’ suspect arrested near University of Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A group of hostages was freed, unharmed, and a man with a gun was arrested Tuesday at a credit union branch near the University of Alabama, police said.

Lt. Teena Richardson, a Tuscaloosa police spokeswoman, said the incident ended peacefully when about eight hostages believed to be credit union workers were released after officers entered the building.

“The hostages are fine,” she said.

The standoff happened at an Alabama Credit Union branch across the street from the university law school and down the street from the athletic complex.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said officers initially responded to a bank robbery in progress before the credit union opened for business. He contradicted an earlier statement from Richardson that a robbery hadn’t been reported.

Responding to a robbery report from a credit union worker, officers arrived so quickly the man couldn’t get out of the building, prompting the standoff, officials said. Anderson said members of a SWAT team entered the building and arrested the suspect after determining the man was located in an area away from the hostages.

“Thankfully we were able to end it without anyone getting hurt,” he said.

Anderson said hostage negotiators were involved, but they weren’t having much contact with the suspect before the SWAT team entered and arrested him.

University of Alabama Assistant Police Chief Aaron Fowler said a credit union worker was the one who notified authorities.

Most students return to class Wednesday, but many already were on campus.

Officers closed the area, and video and photos showed police in military-style vehicles and tactical gear. A helicopter hovered overhead.

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