Shooting suspect takes hostages in bank...

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    By DAVID MERCER, Associated Press Writer
    3 minutes ago



    ARCOLA, Ill. - Authorities surrounded a bank in the tiny farming community of Arcola Thursday where a suspect in the shooting of a sheriff's deputy holed up inside with five hostages.

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    Three of the hostages were later released, but the suspect remained inside with the others several hours later, State Police Sgt. Bill Emery said.

    "We have had contact with the (suspect) in the bank. At this time I'm unsure of what he wants," Emery said. "Our plan is to talk to the subject. We want this to be as peaceful as possible."

    He didn't know the conditions of the two remaining hostages.

    The standoff in this quiet community began Thursday morning after Douglas County authorities responded to an armed robbery at a rural home where two suspects were reported to have stolen a van.

    When Chief Deputy Tommy Martin tried to stop the suspect from fleeing, he was shot in the face and torso, Emery said.

    The suspects continued firing as police chased them, but they eventually lost control of the van about 10 miles away, just outside Arcola, and tried to run.

    One, a 23-year-old man, was captured, but the other fled into the First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, Emery said. Authorities don't know if it was the driver or the passenger who shot Martin, he said.

    The deputy was flow to a hospital in Urbana, where he was listed in critical but stable condition, Emery said.

    A helicopter 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 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 State Police and the sheriff's vehicles were parked all around the bank.

    "They're just trying to get the situation contained," she said. "They're trying to take care of it the best they can."

    Arcola, about 150 miles south of Chicago, has about 2,600 residents. It is home to an Old Order Amish settlement and horse-drawn buggies are a common sight.

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