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Nebraska Bank Hostage Situation Confirmed At Wells Fargo Kearney Branch

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OMAHA, Neb. — Police arrested a man suspected of holding hostages at gunpoint in a south-central Nebraska bank Wednesday and a local television station said he was a former employee who was recently fired for making threats against the station.

No shots or injuries were reported during the nearly three-hour standoff at the Wells Fargo bank branch in downtown Kearney. Police said they recovered a shotgun and machete from the scene.

Kearney Police issued a statement that said Jonathon Buckley, 22, of Minden, began taking hostages inside the bank just before 11 a.m. and started releasing people about 45 minutes later. He surrendered about 1:30 p.m. Police would not say how many people had been in the bank.

Buckley was expected to be formally charged at an arraignment in Buffalo County Court. Kearney Police Chief Daniel Lynch referred questions about potential charges to the Buffalo County attorney's office. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Jail officials did not know whether Buckley had retained an attorney and there was no telephone listing for a Jonathon Buckley in Minden.

Local television station NTV said in a written statement and story posted on its Web site that Buckley was fired Feb. 3 for making threats against the station. A station manager declined to comment further when reached by The Associated Press.

Police officers and snipers had surrounded the bank, some nearby businesses were evacuated and at least one elementary school was locked down during the standoff. The Kearney Hub newspaper reported that between 30 and 40 employees and customers left the bank through a side door late Wednesday morning.

A photo on the paper's Web site showed a man coming out of the bank later with his hands in the air.

Angie Kaipust, a spokeswoman for Nebraska's Wells Fargo branches, said the bank was cooperating with authorities, but declined to discuss details.

Kearney is about 185 miles west of Omaha.


Associated Press Writer Margery A. Beck contributed to this report.

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