Michael Winter, USA TODAY
St. Joesph, LA-- A man who held bank employees hostage at a branch in rural Louisiana shot the two remaining hostages before police killed him early Wednesday after a 12-hour standoff.
Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police superintendent, said the hostages were taken from the scene at the Tensas State Bank branch here in critical condition.
The Associated Press reported that one of the shot hostages later died.
The suspect was identified as Fuaed Abdo Ahmed, 20, whose family owns a convenience store in this Mississippi River town, Edmondson said.
"I wouldn't expect something like that to happen here,'' Mayor Edward Brown said. "It's just bizarre."
St. Joseph is a quiet farming town of about 1,200 residents about 100 miles north of the state capital of Baton Rouge.
Earlier, the suspect seized the three bank employees before releasing a female hostage, identified as Patricia Davis, unharmed after nine hours. A man and a woman remained captive.
Family members of some hostages told The (Monroe, La.) News Star, published by Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, that they had heard the gunman had given authorities 10 hours to adhere to his demands, which were not revealed.
At about 4 p.m. CT, a car broke through a police perimeter and drove toward the bank, The News Star reported. It said the driver, a family member of the suspect, was arrested at gunpoint.
Ahmed was a paranoid schizophrenic, Edmonson said. A note about the attack and a book about hostage negotiations, as well as other planning materials, were discovered at his residence.
Edmonson said Ahmed planned the attack, and around midnight, he told police he was going to kill the hostages. State police then gave the order to initiate the raid.
"This is certainly not the way I wanted this to end, but I believe his mind was set from the beginning," the state police superintendent said.
No troopers were injured in the attack.
Edmonson said a negotiator had spoken with Ahmed throughout the day, but Ahmed often hung up the phone. Robbery is not believed to have been a motive in the attack.
"He was mad at people he said were mean to him," Edmonson said. "He heard voices in his head and wanted a thing in his head removed."
The hostages were shot with a pistol, but Ahmed was also carrying a rifle.
About 100 law enforcement personnel, including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, a bomb squad and sheriff's deputies from four parishes, were assembled, and lights were brought in as negotiations dragged into the night. A no-fly zone with a radius of 5 miles and up to 5,000 feet was imposed above the bank.
Authorities blocked Louisiana 128, the main road that runs through the town, the seat of Tensas Parish, southeast of Monroe and downriver from Vicksburg, Miss.
Ahmed's family owns a convenience store in St. Joseph. The family, originally from Yemen, moved to Louisiana from California shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Tensas Parish Sheriff Rick Jones said he believed Ahmed executed his plan as he intended to do from the beginning.
"Our parish now is in mourning," Jones said. "It's a pretty heartbreaking thing."
Residents were unnerved by the massive police presence, which included a SWAT team.
"It's kind of startling for the residents. We're not accustomed to this kind of activity," Richardo Miles, a 25-year-old farmworker, told the Associated Press. "Some people are pretty scared. They're nervous."
Some have left town, the mayor said.
"It's a quiet town. Very little crime. So this is amazing," he said.