Police in Surrey, B.C., take man into custody after hours-long bank standoff

By The Canadian Press
February 16, 2016 - 1:06pm Updated: February 16, 2016 - 3:10pm

SURREY, B.C. — An hours-long standoff outside a bank in Surrey, B.C., ended Tuesday after police entered the building and brought out a man in handcuffs.

An Emergency Response Team officer escorted the man toward a police truck at around 2:30 p.m., six hours after police responded to multiple calls about an attempted robbery.

The man appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, was wearing a blue plaid shirt and had a slight scowl on his face. A crowd gathered outside the bank applauded.

Surrey RCMP said on Twitter minutes later that one man was in custody.

Officers arrived at the bank at about 8:30 a.m., and found staff and customers already outside.

RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann said officers were unsure at that time if someone was still inside because nobody could say with certainty if the suspect had left.

Police used loudspeakers to try and communicate with anyone in the building but had no response.

Just before 2 p.m., six Emergency Response Team officers briskly entered the building in single file with a police dog in tow.

Businesses and roads were shut down surrounding the TD Canada Trust branch at a shopping plaza on 72nd Avenue in the Newton area.

Witnesses reported that the suspect indicated he had a weapon but police have not confirmed that one existed, Schumann said.

Patrol officers, detectives from the robbery section, emergency response teams and the dog unit were on the scene.

Yellow police tape blocked off every entrance to the bank, with cruisers parked at wide intervals. Officers were stationed on the rooftop of a nearby building.

Rhonda Kerr and her daughter were passing through a bus loop next to the bank around 8:30 a.m., when police began surrounding the area. They believed they spotted two people inside the bank peer through a large window, then quickly pull the blinds shut.

“It was plain as day. Everybody said the same thing — ’Did you see them in there?’” Kerr said as she sat on a curb watching the building with other spectators.

“Then you saw all the police come in, cop car after cop car. Shortly after that we saw the SWAT team and command centre arrive and set up.”

Just before noon, Kerr said she heard police make announcements over a megaphone, saying, “The place is surrounded, come out with your hands up or we will come in.”

Tiarra Kerr said that about 10 minutes later an officer made a second announcement: “Somebody is calling the bank now. Please pick up the phone so we can establish communication so we can see what you need.”

Tyler Moses, 26, said he was on the bus early Tuesday when police suddenly flooded the area. Officers stopped his bus and he had to find his way to his destination by other means.

Moses returned to the block later in the morning and saw a truck release a police robot that trundled toward the bank. It had a camera mounted on top.

Local resident Naida Robinson said she’s dismayed that Newton is in the spotlight again because of crime.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to be surprised. (I’m) disappointed that it’s another one of those things that Newton’s going to be in the news again.”

Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press

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