Two hours into the standoff, at 1:30pm, five hostages were released. Two men and one woman appeared to be unharmed as they left the building. One hostage could be seen being put into handcuffs by police as he exited, but police tell Eyewitness News that was a precaution.
At 4:00pm, a woman left the building. Her exit was followed by a loud flash bang device deployed by officers. SWAT stormed the building and the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.
Three remaining hostages had been hiding in a closet, unbeknowst to the suspects. Police were aware of their presence, but didn't release the information to the public in order to secure their safety from the suspects. They exited the building after the suspect was taken into custody. All 10 hostages are believed to be unharmed. They are receiving medical treatment at the scene.
The standoff began this morning when a 911 call alerted police to the bank robbery in progress.
"About 11am a 911 call came from a witness who observed a couple of suspects going into the bank wearing masks. They were moving rapidly," said Lt. O. Lopez with the Pearland Police Department. "The witness had enough snap to realize something bad was about to happen and called 911. Our dispatcher sent officers to the scene."
As the officers were en route, the suspects attempted to rob the bank by getting into the safe. The bank manager was assaulted during that robbery attempt. His condition is unknown.
Police say there were shots fired when the fleeing robbers saw an officer pull into the parking lot. That apparently forced the robbers to retreat inside the building, and the standoff has continued. It's believed both the officer and suspects exchanged fire, but it's not currently clear how many shots were fired. The officer was not injured, and authorities don't know if the suspects were injured in any way.
About 60 law enforcement officers, including FBI agents and SWAT officers, surrounded the bank. Police requested Eyewitness News stop providing live streaming video from SkyEye above the scene, due to security precautions while hostage negotiations were underway.
Police set up multiple roadblocks in the area, causing traffic nightmares for area residents.
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