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Hostage Standoff at California Bank

Aired January 29, 2002 - 15:13   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. We are following a breaking story in Alhambra, California. That's near Los Angeles. A hostage situation at a bank there. We now have on the phone Sergeant David Nater of the Alhambra Police Department. Sergeant Nater, if you can tell us what is going on and bring us up to date, we would be grateful to you.

SGT. DAVID NATER, ALHAMBRA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, approximately at 9:35 this morning, the police department received a silent alarm from the bank. Dispatchers contacted the bank and spoke to employees there who confirmed that a robbery was in progress. Our officers responded and set up a perimeter around the building and captured -- or did not capture, but the suspect is still inside holding about seven hostages.

BLITZER: And we are looking at a live picture now courtesy of our affiliate in Los Angeles, KTTV, of the Cafe Bank in Alhambra, and that's just outside of Los Angeles. The seven hostages, are they bank employees? Do we know who they are?

NATER: They are bank employees and I believe there are also some customers, but I don't know the exact breakdown.

BLITZER: And the individual who is holding these people hostage, what do we know about him? What was he doing in the bank?

NATER: He was there to rob it, I believe. He came in, gave a note to a teller and demanded $50,000.

BLITZER: And then what happened after that?

NATER: Well, the teller didn't give him the money and they pushed the alarm and we arrived and he is still there.

BLITZER: And on the scene now, I believe we are taking a look at some pictures showing a S.W.A.T. team, is that correct?

NATER: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's S.W.A.T. Team is on the scene. That is correct.

BLITZER: And are they in negotiations with this individual who is holding these seven people hostage?

NATER: To this point, I don't believe there has been any direct negotiations. We have had contact with other people inside the bank who have relayed requests from the suspect.

BLITZER: And what are those requests? Can you tell our viewers?

NATER: He wants the police to leave.

BLITZER: Well, clearly, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. In a normal situation like this, is it just standoff to see who blinks first?

NATER: I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you.

BLITZER: In a normal situation, what happens in a situation like this? What are your guidelines?

NATER: Well, we are going to try and negotiate with the suspect and make him understand that giving up is the best course of action.

BLITZER: Is he -- we presume he is armed, but do we know how heavily armed he might be?

NATER: I'm sorry. I didn't catch the last question.

BLITZER: Do we know how heavily armed the suspect is?

NATER: Hello.

BLITZER: Yes, Sergeant Nater, it's Wolf Blitzer. Can you still hear me. Sergeant Nater, you still there?

NATER: I can hear you.

BLITZER: All right. Do we know how heavily armed the suspect is?

NATER: No one has seen a weapon. He has told people inside the bank that (AUDIO GAP) but nobody has seen it yet.

BLITZER: He says he has a weapon, but no one has seen the weapon, is that correct?

NATER: He has (AUDIO GAP) people that he has a weapon but no one inside has...

BLITZER: Has actually seen the weapon. I want to inform our viewers that you are on a cell phone and that's why the audio line, the line might not be working as well as it should. But if you could...

NATER: Hello.

BLITZER: Yes, can you still hear me, Sergeant Nater?

I think we are losing you. We are going to try to reestablish our contact with Sergeant David Nater of the Alhambra, California Police Department. But we are looking at that live picture in Alhambra just outside of Los Angeles, a hostage situation. Seven people, he tells us, are being held hostage by one individual who went into the bank, wanted to rob the bank, asked for $50,000. That didn't happen.

The police were alerted. The police are now on the scene and Sergeant Nater of the Alhambra Police Department tells us that a S.W.A.T. team is there. They are hoping to negotiate, to be in communication with the suspect, try to resolve this situation peacefully. We are going to continue to monitor this situation in Alhambra. We will be getting back as developments warrant.

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