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Gunman was shot as he stepped outside bank with hostage

March 1, 2012 |  5:08 pm

Suspect in the Buena Park bank hostage standoff
A gunman who had been holed up with a hostage inside a Buena Park bank was shot and critically wounded Thursday when he stepped outside with his hostage to retrieve an item that he had demanded police bring to him, authorities said.

Police declined to say what the item was, only that the shooting broke out once the gunman walked outside.

The would-be bank robber was taken to the UC Irvine trauma center. The hostage -– who is the bank manager -– was rescued unharmed by police, said Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez.

Police said the bank manager was with the suspect when he was shot.

Six bank customers were released by the gunman earlier in the ordeal, which began just after 11 a.m. at Saehan Bank on Beach Boulevard.

Authorities said they are classifying the incident as an attempted robbery, though there have been reports the incident was set off by a personal matter. Sianez declined to comment.

Cpl. Andy Luong said the gunman was uncooperative as police tried to negotiate with him.

Sgt. Bill Kohanek said the suspect is 45 years old and of Korean descent. In an interview before police entered the bank, Kohanek said authorities had some contact with the gunman, but his demands were unclear.

"It sounds like a very angry person," Kohanek said.

In contrast to earlier reports that the gunman had ordered bank customers and employees out, Kohanek said the gunman allowed them to leave at the request of police.

He did, however, keep the bank manager, described as a Korean woman, as a hostage, Kohanek said.


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Photo: The suspect in the Buena Park bank hostage standoff was shot and wounded. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times