2 women freed from ongoing Minnesota bank robbery standoff

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A standoff between police in St. Cloud, Minnesota and an alleged hostage-taker continued into the evening Thursday despite the release of two employees.

The women were released from a Wells Fargo Bank branch, according to authorities. The first woman ran from the bank toward members of a SWAT team with her hands up. After being searched, she was escorted to safety. A second woman later emerged and was led to safety.

It wasn’t immediately clear if other bank employees were being held against their will. Earlier, law enforcement officials said an unspecified number of hostages were being held by a male suspect. Police said negotiations were continuing with the suspect, and there were no reports of injuries.

St. Cloud resident Abdi Kadir told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he was in the bank drive-through just before 2 p.m. when the teller hurriedly told him to leave. As he drove off, he saw people running out the bank’s front door, he said.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Staci Schiller confirmed “a hostage situation” at the bank’s south branch. She said bank officials are cooperating with local law enforcement and will do whatever they can to assist the authorities.