An armed suspect reportedly took hostages at a credit union on the campus of the University of Alabama Tuesday, sparking a tense standoff with armed police and a SWAT team.
The Alabama Credit Union’s president, Steve Swofford, told Fox 6 his employees were safe, but it was unclear whether other hostages were inside the building in Tuscaloosa, not far from the university’s law school. Police reportedly were trying to establish contact with the suspect.
The university sent out a campus-wide alert warning people to stay away. The situation started around 8:30 a.m., before the credit union was set to open.
Details on what sparked the apparent hostage-taking were unclear. “It didn’t come in as a robbery,” police Lt. Teena Richardson told Al.com. “We don’t know what the issue is.”
The credit union was in a busy area of the city, with several restaurants and doctors’ offices also in surrounding blocks.
Video and photos from the area showed police in military-style vehicles and tactical gear with guns drawn, and a police helicopter overhead. Officers were working quickly to evacuate nearby businesses.
People in the area should “shelter in place. Stay inside until law enforcement comes to your door and asks you to leave,” Major Ken Birchfield of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office told WIAT.