ST. JOSEPH, La. -- A man who held three bank employees hostage at a branch in rural Louisiana shot the two remaining hostages before being shot and killed by police early Wednesday.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said the hostages were taken from the scene at the Tensas State Bank branch in St. Joseph, La., in critical condition.
The Associated Press reported that one of the shot hostages later died.
The suspect is a 20-year-old local man - identified as 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed - whose family owns a convenience store in Mississippi River town, Edmondson, said.
"I wouldn't expect something like that to happen here,'' Mayor Edward Brown said. "It's just bizarre."
St. Joseph is a quiet farming town of about 1,200 residents.
Earlier, the suspect seized the three bank employees before releasing a female
hostage after nine hours. A man and a woman remained captive.
Family members of some hostages told the Monroe News Star, published by Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, that they had heard the gunman had given authorities 10 hours to adhere to his demands, which were not revealed.
At about 4 p.m. CT, a car broke through a police perimeter and drove toward the bank, the News Star reported. It said the driver, a family member of the suspect, was arrested at gunpoint.
The suspect has at least one weapon, a handgun, Edmondson said, adding there was no indication he had explosives.
He said the suspect was apparently armed with "some type of automatic weapon," AP wrote.
About 100 law enforcement personnel, including the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, a bomb squad and sheriff's deputies from four parishes, were assembled, and lights were brought in as negotiations dragged into the night. A no-fly zone with a radius of 5 miles and up to 5,000 feet was imposed above the bank.
Authorities have blocked Highway 128, the main road that runs through the town, the seat of Tensas Parish, southeast of Monroe and downriver from Vicksburg, Miss.
Residents were unnerved by the massive police presence, which included a SWAT team.
"It's kind of startling for the residents. We're not accustomed to this kind of activity," Richardo Miles, a 25-year-old farmworker, told the Associated Press. "Some people are pretty scared. They're nervous."
Some have left town, the mayor said.
"It's a quiet town. Very little crime. So this is amazing," he said.
(Michael Winter, USA TODAY)