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Wash. Bank Robber Holding Hostages

March 11, 1998

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) _ A bank robber with a gun was holding six people hostage at midday in a Seafirst branch in this south Seattle suburb.

Police were at the scene, trying to negotiate. Sgt Willard Lathrop said the situation seemed to involve a foiled robbery late this morning. No one had been hurt, he said.

``Our negotiators are out there, the perimeter teams are in place _ he’s not going anywhere,″ Lathrop said.

``They’re going to resolve this thing peacefully,″ he said, though he noted that such situations ``go on and on sometimes.″

Lathrop said he did not know who was being held, but ``we can make a guess that some are employees and some are customers.″

There were concerns at the scene about customers from a neighboring grocery store wandering into the middle of the tense situation, he said.

At about noon, KIRO-TV reported one of the hostages had been released, leaving five people held at gunpoint.

Seafirst officials declined comment.

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