Standoff at bar ends with no suspect in custody

May 19, 2011 7:14:48 AM PDT
A SWAT team surrounded a southwest Houston bar for hours this morning after they believed an armed man was holed up inside. But that suspect managed to slip away. It happened at the Cozy Corner bar on Burdine near West Bellfort. The business owner tells Eyewitness News she got a call around 2:20am from one of her employees who was shaking, scared and nervous. She says the employee was walking to her car when she was approached by the armed suspect.

The employee told her boss she believed this was the same suspect who robbed the bar four times before. She says the suspect showed her the shotgun, and demanded that she go inside and get into the safe. The boss said since they've been robbed four times before, she had taken the key to the safe, meaning the employee couldn't get into it. That's when the suspect reportedly took off.

Because it had been robbed so many times, police say an HPD tactical team was set up doing undercover surveillance on the bar.

"She called police reporting that she'd been robbed and she then came outside. Now the surveillance team had been observing the bar the whole time and they have not seen the suspect come back out," said spokesperson Kese Smith with the Houston Police Department. "So SWAT was called out and they are attempting to make contact with the suspect. The female bartender is unharmed and obviously we have some questions we want to ask her."

The bar owner looked at surveillance video with police. It appeared the suspect was in and out in about 30 minutes, and was able to get out without being captured by police. The bar worker wasn't injured, but is afraid the armed man may be back to target the business again.

Stay with Eyewitness News and for the latest on this developing story.

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