CARY, N.C. (AP) - A three-hour standoff at a North Carolina bank ended abruptly Thursday when police shot and killed the armed suspect after he led a hostage through the parking lot with a gun to her head.
Television footage broadcast live during the dinner hour showed the man crumple to the ground after five officers fired on him outside a Wachovia bank in Cary, a suburb about 10 miles west of Raleigh.
"This is not how we wanted this to end," Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said.
None of the seven hostages, including one who stayed hidden from the gunman and relayed information to police, nor the dozens of officers who surrounded the bank were injured, Bazemore said.
The standoff began around 3 p.m. when the man came inside the Wachovia and tried to rob the bank, authorities said.
Police arrived within two minutes and the man took hostages.
Two women were released shortly after police arrived, and two more people were released an hour later. TV footage showed one of them running away quickly.
The second hostage fell to the ground just outside the bank's door and didn't move. Two officers quickly ran up, helped her to her feet, then ran backward, never moving their guns from the building's door.
About two hours later, the suspect slowly walked out of the bank with the hostage, pointing a gun at her. He was shot after the woman went to her knees in the parking lot.
"I'm shaken. I hope I don't have to see something like that again," said 16-year-old Zackery Marvel, who watched the dramatic conclusion from his apartment several hundred yards away.
Bazemore said, "It is a very sad situation that we did end up shooting the suspect."
Hostages were talking to police and being united with their families, she said. The gunman's next of kin were being notified so his name was not yet released.
The hostage drama shook the normally quiet town of 137,000. The bank was not far from the Kids R Kids daycare, where officers helped evacuate about 100 children to safety. Four schools near the bank were also locked down.