Hostage crisis in Alabama bank building

New York, Jan 10 (IANS) What seemed a bank robbery at the Alabama Credit Union in Tuscaloosa has turned into a hostage situation, with one suspect barricaded inside the building near the University of Alabama campus in the US.

A gunman entered the building and took the employees inside hostage, Lt. Teena Richardson of the Tuscaloosa Police Department told media.

Nearby businesses were being evacuated and the area was closed off to the public. The FBI hostage negotiator has yet to establish contact with the gunman, police said.

“It didn’t come in as a robbery,” Richardson said. “We don’t know what the issue is.”

All credit union employees were safe, Alabama Credit Union CEO Steve Swofford told WBRC.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the University of Alabama Police Department and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency were working the scene jointly, Richardson said.