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Hostage Situation In Indiana Ends Peacefully

Aired September 4, 2001 - 13:32   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Who were released, you see them running there with the SWAT team behind them, giving them cover from the bank. These people were released a while ago. Following the release of these two hostages, the SWAT team approached the bank again, this time carrying a bag. We have since learned from police that inside that bag was food and cigarettes, which was requested by the gunman and in exchange the gunman released another hostage.

We do know that police are in contact with the gunman, trying to force a peaceful end to this, trying to get more hostages released. And we continue to follow the story here at CNN. This is a small town, about 7,000 people. This is pretty much dominating this small town right now. People can't go anymore to go about their business in the main central shopping area of Lowell, Indiana. And, as we mentioned, schools are in lockdown, going about their business at the moment while police and the FBI try to end this situation peacefully.

We will continue to monitor and listen to our affiliates from Chicago that are in Lowell covering the story.

Right now let's check in with some eyewitness who were the first to see what was happening there this morning.


CATHY SHIYAN, WITNESS: The windows were kind of tinted, but we could see his profile, and we actually saw him walking around, pacing inside with the shotgun, and then I was scared. You know, it was serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, WBBM REPORTER: What do you remember? How old a person approximately? Can you remember anything, the way this person looked?

SHIYAN: I couldn't tell age wise how old he was. He was pretty tall. He looked like he was at least six foot tall. I could tell he had a beard, and that he was holding a shotgun.


ALLEN: Again, that was an eyewitness, courtesy of our affiliate WBBM. For more now, let's go over to Lou.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We just heard her on tape, now we are going to talk with her live. Cathy Shiyan about 100 yards away from the scene of all of this? Is that right, Cathy?


WATERS: And why are you that close.

SHIYAN: I work at a grocery store, and I came into work this morning about 7:30 when it all started.

WATERS: And how's business?

SHIYAN: They closed their store.

WATERS: Really?

SHIYAN: Business has been a little slow.

WATERS: Did they tell you to stay in the store?

SHIYAN: Yes, we're locked in.

WATERS: You're locked in the store. What, can you see out the window?


WATERS: What are you seeing?

SHIYAN: There's a lot of police activity, helicopters, a SWAT team. We've seen the SWAT team come in and pull up and take their positions. We helped them clear the parking lot and get everybody out.

WATERS: What's your feeling about all of this? Are you resentful that you're being locked in your place of business there?

SHIYAN: No, not really. I realize it's for our own safety that we're in here. Really, there's not -- we're not too much scared because we are a little ways away.

WATERS: Right. Well, that would be my questions. If you're a little ways away and you're not scared, why wouldn't there be a backdoor out where you could get away and go home?

SHIYAN: There was talk of that, but then nothing ever became of it.

WATERS: Did they tell you anything other than stay inside? Did they say it's dangerous out here?

SHIYAN: Yes. They have everybody staying in and off of the streets, and we're not taking any deliveries.

WATERS: OK, well good luck.

SHIYAN: Thank you.

WATERS: I hope everything turns out right.

SHIYAN: Thanks.

WATERS: Cathy Shiyan in her place of business, in her grocery store about 100 yards away. And they're locked in, Natalie.

ALLEN: Lou, we're just hearing, one of our affiliates is reporting the gunman is in custody. So, let's listen in with WFLD, which is reporting this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 300 yards from the bank, and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fire trucks came by on the ready, and they never were called in. I would think if there were gunshots, any shots fired that we would have heard them. We never heard anything like that, unless it was inside of the bank.

And the people that we witnessed leaving the bank were leaving very cautiously, and they waited until they got out of the point of view of the bank, and they ran to a group of waiting people nearby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adrian, you mentioned the canine unit was on hand earlier. Has that been deployed inside the bank?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several people I'm standing near said they saw it, and it was ready to go, but I never saw it go into the bank. I only saw the armed SWAT team members go in with their shields up, and he just walked out at ease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the situation in the street right now? Is the press being kept away from the area still?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes they are. We're at one side of the Centier Bank, the rest of the media is at the other side, at a shopping center, and they are standing by waiting for an update from the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the folks who were there desperate to get information on their family? Are they being referred to any special location?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not seen anyone like that in a couple hours at this point. I think they were all taken away to a different location.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any word on when the streets will be reopened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I would assume it would be shortly. They -- it looks like some of the vehicles are pulling out of the way here, and right now, as I speak, the ambulances are all leaving. The barricades are still up at this point. So, those may be coming down, hopefully, in the next few minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How big a presence of law enforcement officials are there right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to say because they are very scattered, but there -- I see ambulances from Crown Point, the Lowell fire department has their presence here, obviously. The FBI, there's plenty of FBI, and the Lake County Sheriff's Department, the Porter Country Sheriff's Department has been called in, some of their divisions, as well as the Lowell Fire department -- or police department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are looking at live pictures of police pulling back, it appears, from the scene. It looks like the ambulance that was standing by in case of an emergency also heading away. Hard to know who the gentleman is that's talking to our cameras right now. We'll find out in a moment as they brief our cameraman as to what I assume is going to be the latest on the press conference.

Let's go to Nancy, who's live at the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I have you step please, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just move forward a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to have a press conference right now, at 1:00 at the Lowell Police Department. I'll give you all the details now.

QUESTION: OK. Mike, has he surrendered?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's surrendered, and that's why we are going to give all the details right now at the police department.

QUESTION: Was anybody injured? Was he injured?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no injuries, but (AUDIO GAP) at the press conference.

QUESTION: How many hostages did he have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll give you all of that information there. OK?

QUESTION: Can you tell us how it came to an end, Mike?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was very peaceful, very peaceful.

QUESTION: Did he say anything when he came out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1:00 at the Lowell police department they're going to tell us...

ALLEN: All right, you're hearing it there. This situation is over, it has ended peacefully. The gunman is in custody. No one was injured. After several harrowing hours of having people held by this gunman inside of that bank, a few hostages were let out along the way. But now all of hostages are freed. The gunman is in police custody, and as you heard, they'll have more information later.

But the folks in Lowell, Indiana, are probably extremely relieved to have this over. School kids can now come out of lockdown, businesses can continue operating, and we will push on with other news from this day.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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