Eyewitness confusion prolongs standoff after Mville bank robbery; schools locked down for four hours
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:11 AM
MARYSVILLE Schools were locked down longer than needed following a early morning bank robbery Oct. 17, after witnesses reported more than one suspect had hidden in a house near Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
A 17-year-old boy robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on State Avenue and fled on a bicycle, which he then put in the back of a green SUV, according to witnesses at the scene.
The robber then sped off, with police in pursuit. A short time later, two workers installing vinyl siding saw a green Jeep Cherokee dash into the garage of a house across the street from their project in the 10600 block of 52nd Avenue NE. The pair told police they saw two people in the vehicle before the garage door closed. This occurred shortly after 10 a.m. and caused a lock down of M-PHS and Cascade Elementary School while negotiators tried to get the occupants of the house to surrender. The schools were locked down until about 2:15 p.m.
A lone suspect surrendered just after noon, but SWAT teams from the Snohomish County Sheriffs office and many Marysville Police Department units kept the house surrounded for several hours while they obtained a search warrant to breach the door and look for any additional suspects.
It was conflicting, thats why it took a little extra time to get that cleared, said Marysville Police spokesman Bob Dolhanyk, Jr.
Acting on the eyewitness reports, the police took their time and blocked off several streets around the southern end of the Shoultes neighborhood near Marysville Fire Districts Station 62, where the two law enforcement agencies established a command post. After the suspect surrendered he was brought to the firehouse for identification by the siding workers, Bill Noland and Charlie Mustonen.
Members of the sheriffs office were upset with television news crews on the scene after one Seattle station aired live footage of the suspects surrender. Believing more people were inside the house, police were moving snipers into position from several approaches and were disappointed when live shots were aired first locally on KOMO-TV channel four and later nationally on the Fox News Channel. About two and a half hours after the start of the incident law enforcement ordered the airspace closed in a five-mile radius.
Dolhanyk said he was on hold with the cable news channel when he heard the news anchor describing the events. By and large police dont want live footage aired because it puts officers and bystanders at risk.
Thats very much a concern, if (the suspects) have got a TV on inside and they can see positioning of law enforcement, that gives them an advantage they dont need, Dolhanyk said.