Employees at a McDonald’s in Lakeland, Florida, are being held hostage by a group of armed carjackers that attempted to escape form police. It is unknown how many suspects are involved in the hostage situation.
The carjackers stole the vehicle in Hillsborough County, Florida and fled the scene. The vehicle was spotted by police nearly a half an hour later and a chase ensued. The carjackers drove into Lakeland and bailed out of the vehicle, according to Fox 13 News.
The suspects rushed into the nearby McDonald’s in an attempt to escape. Many guests inside the restaurant noticed the men with guns and escaped the establishment without harm. However, employees are still inside with the armed men, being held hostage at gunpoint.
The McDonald’s location is currently surrounded by police, SWAT team members, and other law enforcement members from multiple agencies.
— Tampa Live (@Tampa_Live) October 8, 2016
Metro reported on the situation and claims that the hostage situation is ongoing. It is not believed that anyone inside the building has been harmed at this time.
— Kim Kuizon FOX 13 (@kkuizon) October 8, 2016
At this time, it is unknown how many employees are left in the building, or if there are any customers inside.
Florida Highway patrol has blocked all ramps of I-4 that lead to the area. This is to ensure that, if the the suspects escape, they are not able to get far, according to Bay News 9.
The incident began at approximately 7:28 am when the carjacking occurred. No one was injured in the situation.
Half an hour later, police located the vehicle and they began their pursuit. The carjackers fled the officers and the chase began.
About ten minutes later, the suspect vehicle stopped outside of the McDonald’s in Lakeland and the suspect(s) entered the McDonald’s restaurant. Guests in the restaurant fled without harm. However, the actual number of people inside are unknown at this time.
Law enforcement is focused on the hostage situation and is working diligently to ensure the safety of the McDonald’s workers inside. The Hillsborough County sheriff responded to inquiries about the hostage, claiming that they know of one suspect at this time, but are unsure if there are more.
“We believe that one suspect is inside the McDonald’s with possible hostages. We do not know exactly how many people are inside of the McDonald’s,”
Authorities are unsure how long the hostage situation will continue, but are working diligently to ensure the safety to everyone inside.
Over 100 law enforcement individuals are on the scene. The large police presence will assist in ensuring the suspect, or suspects, do not escape unnoticed. Reports reveal that there is at least one hostage inside. However, it is unknown if there are more, or if they are all McDonald’s employees or guests at the McDonald’s.
Police state that they will remain on the scene until all individuals within the McDonald’s are safe from any harm. They hope to apprehend the suspect without any harm him or her, in an effort to ensure that all legal process is served as required by law.
At this time, police are not stating whether they plan to enter the building or allow it to resolve on its own.
— Rus to En Fr Es News (@Rus_Eng_News) October 8, 2016
The Tampa Bay Times claims that there are no injuries reported at this time.
The McDonald’s is located at 5325 Frontage Road South.
As the situation continues, updates will be posted as new information is released. Check back often for more information as it arrives.
Update: It has been confirmed that there are three armed suspects and one hostage inside the restaurant.
All three suspects have been apprehended and the hostage was released unharmed.
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