Hostages Taken at Lansing Twp. Bar, Later Freed; Suspect at Large

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

More than five hours of tension in Lansing Township came to a close with all four hostages freed without injury.

All the employees taken hostage by an unidentified man at a bar in Lansing Township were released safely Sunday morning. The suspect is still at large.

Lansing Township Police Department officials say the man ran into Dispatch, a bar on West Main Street, terrorizing the four people inside.

Officials describe the suspect, who was not in custody Sunday afternoon, as a white male in his mid-20s -- a slender man, clean shave, and approximately six feet tall with black hair.

Police say the hostage situation started when an unidentified man broke into Dispatch through a window just after 3 a.m.

"Came in and ran through the bar, apparently employees were also running, and there was no further contact with the suspect," Lansing Township Police Chief Kay Hoffman said.

Offiicals say they don't believe the man knew any of the hostages. They do believe he may have had a weapon. Faced with an apparant stranger breaking into their bar, police say the four employees inside the bar hid -- and called police.

"When police arrived, they realized there had been an entry and possibly one perpetrator. They set up a perimeter," Hoffman said.

Police closed major roads and freeway ramps in the area -- and they opened a command post at a nearby motel. Other law enforcement agencies -- including City of Lansing Police and the State Police -- were a part of the effort.

After police arrived, three of the four employees were able to leave the bar by themselves as police watched.

"Able to get three of the people...three of the hostages...out pretty quickly," Hoffman said.

The fourth hostage believed the man who apparently broke in was still in the bar.

"The fourth was able to be removed by the Lansing Police Department Tactical Team," Hoffman said.

But Chief Hoffman says when the tactical unit entered the tavern and freed the last hostage, the suspect was already gone.

"They were able to do a search of the entire premises-- the perpetrator was not located," the chief said.

Police began searching the area immediately --

"We cleared the bar and began looking for evidence of the suspect," Hoffman said.

And evidence of where the suspect may have gone. Police say he may be armed.

-- in Lansing Township, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.

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