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Nearly 30 People Held in Bank Following Robbery

January 1, 1993

PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) _ Police surrounded a bank Tuesday after a robbery attempt in which a man killed himself after a police chase, authorities said. At least 28 people remained inside hours later, either because they were held hostage or because explosives might have been planted at the entrance.

Authorities didn’t know whether robbers remained inside the Bank of America branch in this suburban Los Angeles community. There was no immediate report of injuries to hostages.

A man who fled the bank commandeered a car and fatally shot himself following a chase with police on a highway, said Corinne Loomis, a spokeswoman for the Placentia Police Department.

A gunman or gunmen apparently detonated explosives at the one-story bank building during the robbery attempt, Fullerton police Sgt. Hal Stevens said.

As many as 18 bank employees and 10 customers were believed to be inside.

″There is the potential of a bomb at the door, and that has kept people in the bank,″ said John Carpenter, supervisor of the FBI office in Santa Ana. ″As to whether there is a suspect inside we don’t know.″

FBI agents and members of a police SWAT team surrounded the branch, Carpenter said. The standoff began late Tuesday afternoon and continued into the evening.

Following the robbery attempt, a man commandeered a car with two women inside, then shot himself after a chase with police. The women were unharmed, and an undetermined amount of money was found inside the car, Loomis said.

Placentia is about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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