SWAT Sniper Ends Hostage Situation in Florida Bank

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 11, 2024US News
share
SWAT Sniper Ends Hostage Situation in Florida Bank
A screenshot from a video showing a Florida sniper aims his weapon toward the suspect of a bank robbery in Fort Myers, Florida, on Feb. 6, 2024. (Lee County Sheriff’s Office/Screenshot via NTD)

Law enforcement in Florida released a video that captured the intense moments of a deadly bank robbery and hostage situation earlier this year.

The play-by-play video, released on Saturday by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, laid out a timeline of events and explained the decision to take down an armed bank robber who held two people hostage inside the Bank of America in Fort Myers on Feb. 6.

Lieutenant Todd Elmer, Public Information Officer (PIO), narrated the less than three-minute video. The purpose of releasing the video to the public was to provide context into the “time-critical” incident, according to the PIO.

The video began with Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s news conference in which he explained that law enforcement encountered a 36-year-old male suspect who was armed with a knife and claimed he had a bomb.

“He had two hostages at this point. And we tried to negotiate with him continuously,” the sheriff said during a news conference that day.

In the video, a SWAT negotiator can be seen speaking directly with the suspect. He empathized with the suspect by telling him he understood his situation because he was a father as well.

“I want to be able to help you with that. As someone else who has kids, I want to be able to help you with that,” he said as the SWAT team stood behind him.

“Keep talking to me, keep talking to me. Let me know what’s going through your head right now,” he continued.

But the situation quickly escalated when the suspect became physical and placed one of the suspects in a headlock and put a knife to her throat, according to the sheriff. The suspect stood directly behind the two hostages and used them as human shields.

The suspect, along with the hostages, were positioned in the back corner of the room behind a counter lined with computers and other office items.

“Due to the suspect’s limited exposure, the sniper took a planned and deliberate shot through a computer monitor, striking the suspect in the center of the forehead, killing him instantly,” Lt. Elmer said in the video.

The footage showed the bullet hole left in the computer monitor.

“Firing through barriers is a trained and routinely practiced skill by Lee County Sheriff’s Special Operations unit snipers. The .308 caliber bullet used is specifically selected due to its known ballistic reliability traveling through immediate barriers,” the PIO stated.

Another camera angle directly behind the sniper captured the exact moment he fired the deadly shot. The sniper appeared to use the shoulder of a SWAT team member in front of him to place and aim his weapon toward the suspect. Footage also showed the suspect suddenly dropping to the ground.

According to the sheriff, as soon as the suspect threatened the hostage and presented an act of deadly force, the SWAT sniper immediately acted.

A chaotic scene continued to unfold after the shooting when the SWAT Team immediately rushed in to make sure the suspect was down. Distraction devices, known as flashbangs, were activated as the team ran into the room and jumped over the counter to confirm the suspect was no longer a threat. Clouds of gray smoke filled the room as team members examined the suspect. The hostages, visibly distraught, were swept to safety.

“How you train is how you perform,” the sheriff said, adding that its Special Operations Unit, Hostage Negotiations Team, and Patrol Bureau regularly train so that all “options are available” when they encounter volatile situations such as this one.

According to the sheriff, it was an “unfortunate situation,” but saving the two hostages was their top priority.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.