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Illinois bank hostage-taker surrenders

A man wanted in a shooting that left a sheriff's deputy wounded and later took five hostages in a bank surrendered late Thursday, authorities said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man wanted in a shooting that left a sheriff's deputy wounded and later took five hostages in a bank surrendered late Thursday, authorities said.

The standoff, which occurred after a high-speed chase through Illinois farm country, ended around 7 p.m., Arcola Police Chief Mike Phillip said.

The man had released four hostages unharmed throughout the hours-long standoff at the First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust. The last hostage who had remained Thursday evening also was unharmed, State Police Sgt. Bill Emery said.

The situation started midmorning when a state trooper pulled over a silver car for having windows that were too darkly tinted on a stretch of Interstate 57 about 12 miles north of Arcola, a town of 2,600 where horse-drawn buggies of Old Order Amish are a familiar sight.

The trooper sensed something was not right and called for a drug-sniffing dog. Then, "the driver put it in gear and took off," Emery said. The trooper did not pursue the vehicle because it is state police policy to give chase only if there has been a violent crime, Emery said.

About an hour later, the two men in the vehicle robbed a home and stole a van about 7 miles from where they were first pulled over, Emery said. The silver car was left at the home.

Soon after, Chief Deputy Tommy Martin pulled the van over. He was shot in the face and torso as he walked up to the vehicle, Emery said.

The injured deputy was able to radio in what happened and tell authorities where the van had driven off. Authorities pursued the fleeing vehicle in a chase that reached speeds over 100 mph, Emery said. The suspects continued firing as police chased them.

When the driver lost control of the vehicle as it careered over railroad tracks, the suspects abandoned it on foot. One fled into the nearby bank. The other suspect, a 23-year-old man, was taken into custody, but had not been charged.

Authorities don't know if it was the driver or the passenger who shot Martin. The deputy was at a hospital in Urbana, where he was listed in critical but stable condition, Emery said.

It was not immediately clear how the hostages were released.

Home to Amish settlement, Raggedy Ann creator
Arcola, about 150 miles south of Chicago, is home to an Old Order Amish settlement. The rural area features Amish homes, business and schools. It is also the hometown of Johnny Gruelle, creator of the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters in the early part of the last century.

A helicopter had hovered over the bank Thursday afternoon, and dozens of police officers from the sheriff's office, the state police, and nearby communities guarded the scene.

Workers at a hardware store across from the bank locked their doors and took cover when the standoff began around 10:45 a.m., bookkeeper Debra McGrew said.

She said police and the sheriff's vehicles were parked all around the bank.

"These things happen in big cities, not a little town like Arcola," said McGrew. "You don't think it will happen in your town."