Man charged in Minnesota bank hostage case

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Charges were filed Friday against a man accused of holding five employees hostage during a standoff at a Minnesota bank that lasted more than eight hours.

Ray R. McNeary, 35, was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, five counts of kidnapping and assault in Stearns County District Court, the Star Tribune reported. Judge Nathaniel Welte rescheduled his bail hearing from Friday to Monday after McNeary was “uncooperative and refused to appear for court,” the Stearns County Attorney’s Office said. He will be held over the weekend.

Police said Friday that no firearm was found on McNeary or at the scene. McNeary was arrested in the Wells Fargo bank shortly after the final hostage left the building.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Staci Schiller had said Thursday that the suspect had “some sort of weapon.” Neither police nor Kendall immediately responded to a message left inquiring about that.

Law enforcement officers began negotiating with McNeary about 1:45 p.m. Thursday after a robbery was reported. The first hostage, a woman, was freed several hours later and ran to officers with her hands raised.

A few minutes later, a second woman emerged and was led away. Then, just before 8 p.m., a male bank employee emerged unharmed. A fourth person, a woman, walked out minutes later.

A crowd had gathered near the bank and cheered each time a hostage emerged.

The final hostage was freed about 10:15 p.m. That’s when officers moved in and arrested the suspect. None of the hostages or McNeary were injured, police said.

Anderson said the standoff began when the suspect came to the bank and was disgruntled about a prior transaction. The branch manager called police because he was concerned about the safety of those inside the bank. Anderson said many people had already run out by the time officers arrived.

The chief said McNeary was known to authorities before the hostage situation.

“We have had numerous contacts with this individual dating back at least a decade, including violent crime,” Anderson said.

He remains jailed in Stearns County. Online jail records did not list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.