Armed man taken into custody after bank siege

Armed police at the bottom of the Westpac building. Photo / Richard Robinson
Armed police at the bottom of the Westpac building. Photo / Richard Robinson

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A man has been taken into Police custody signalling the end of a five hour siege at an Auckland bank.

The 41-year-old man arrived at the Westpac branch on Great South Rd in Penrose in a wheelchair about 4.30pm, carrying a gun.

Nine bank employees were initially taken hostage, but released about 6pm, and Police spent until 9.45pm negotiating with the man before he was apprehended and taken to Auckland Central Police station, Inspector Lou Alofa has told media at the scene.

"All employees of the bank were uninjured. They were shaken but uninjured."

Mr Aloha said the man was unhurt and police were now looking at possible charges.

He arrived in a wheelchair, but police would not say whether he was disabled.

Bank staff and customers were inside at the time and witnesses said one person had a gun held to their head, 3 News reported.

Police said it was thought those inside were not threatened directly.

The man was threatening to harm himself and had asked for a friend to be brought to the scene, but the nominated friend could not be located, Police said in a statement.

He will be held in custody overnight and appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow where he will likely be charged with firearms offences, the statement said.

"No shots were fired throughout the incident which was eventually resolved by direct negotiation."

Ten children and three staff from a nearby day care centre had been allowed to leave with police help about 8pm.

The centre was inside a cordoned area so was not accessible to the children's parents.

Police earlier issued a statement advising motorists to avoid the area between Ellerslie Panmure Highway and Rockfield Rd due to an incident and buses were not allowed to stop in the area.

- APNZ

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