Cops Seek 2 More Suspects After Texas Bank Hostage Standoff

VIDEO: A hostage situation ends peacefully; two suspects are in custody.
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Police are hunting more suspects after a five-hour hostage standoff and attempted New Year's Eve robbery at a Texas bank.

"We are working with the FBI and a task force in order to apprehend the suspects," Pearland, Texas, Police Department spokesman Lt. Onesimo Lopez told ABCNews.com today.

Police have not determined the exact number of people involved, but believe two suspects in the robbery still may be at large after fleeing the scene.

Two other suspects in the Houston-area bank robbery and hostage standoff are under arrest, each being held on $13 million bail. Samuel Bonner, 39, and Raymond Tierra Johnson, 29, both have been charged with 13 counts of aggravated robbery, Lopez said.

One bank employee was assaulted, but there were no serious injuries in the robbery, which saw 10 people taken hostage by the armed men, police told the Houston Chronicle newspaper. No money was taken in the attempted heist.

Approximately 60 cops, FBI agents and SWAT officers surrounded the Chase Bank in Pearland Friday before Bonner, armed with a handgun, released the final two hostages and was placed under arrest.

Police were notified of the robbery by a 911 call.

"About 11 a.m. a 911 call came from a witness who observed a couple of suspects going into the bank wearing masks. They were moving rapidly," Lopez said. "The witness had enough snap to realize something bad was about to happen and called 911. Our dispatcher sent officers to the scene."

At least two of the suspects demanded money from the safe with guns drawn, according to police. The bank's manager refused and was beaten for resisting.

"He was just covered in blood," said Christina Hinojosa, the manager at the Loan Depot adjacent to the bank.

The manager has been released from the hospital after treatment for his injuries and is doing well, Lopez told Reuters.

"Very scary, very scary. I've never seen anything like it and hope I never have to again," added Hinojosa, whose store was used as a shield by the SWAT team.

Hostage 'Wasn't Ready to Die'

Malford Lewis, one of the hostages, was filling out a deposit slip when he heard shouting and men telling everyone to get on the floor. All he could see was darkness and all he could hear were screams as he lay praying on the floor, he told the Houston Chronicle.

"I wasn't ready to die yet," Lewis, 41, told the Chronicle.

Lewis said that he thought it might be some sort of joke or hidden camera TV show when he heard the robbers demanding money from the tellers. But when he heard one of the men tell the bank manager he'd be shot in the head if he didn't open the safe, Lewis turned to prayer.

At one point, Bonner asked for use of a cell phone, the Chronicle reported, so he offered his. The phone was used to keep in contact with Bonner by hostage negotiators.

"I just wanted them to take whatever they wanted because those are just possessions," he said. "I just wanted them to let me out."

Meanwhile, several of the other hostages were able to use their phones to contact loved ones via text message.

According to the Chronicle, Junior Moreno, a 20-year-old employee of the Chase branch, contacted his sister, saying that he was scared, and a couple waiting for their daughter to be released by Bonner said she had contacted them.

A lone police officer answering the 911 call pulled into the parking lot outside the bank and exchanged gunfire with the bank robbers, Lopez said. During the shootout, Bonner suffered a laceration on his leg.

Yureli Gomez, the manager of Taqueria Arandas, a restaurant nearby, was about to leave for the bank to get some change when her sister came screaming into the restaurant's back door.

"My sister came in and said she saw a robber ran around the bank and then the police officer was behind shooting at him and he went into the bank's back door," Gomez said.

Sharpshooters quickly were dispatched and laid out across the perimeter, hiding behind vehicles, shrubbery and in a Walmart parking lot nearby.

Police-Suspect Confrontation, Then Standoff

As the suspects attempted to flee through the back door of the bank, gunfire broke out between them and the police's first responder. While two of the suspects retreated back into the bank, another suspect or suspects fled the scene in a dark blue truck, according to ABC News Houston affiliate affili.

One of the two who had retreated inside then fled the bank, but was quickly apprehended in the Walmart lot, KTRK reported. The man has been identified as Raymond Tierra Johnson.

A five-hour hostage standoff between the police and Bonner then ensued. Two hours into negotiations, Bonner released five hostages.

Lewis was one of the hostages allowed to leave. He was caught up in the drama when he went to make a deposit, his girlfriend Donetta Gardner told ABC News.

"When he got out, the sergeant of the police department called me to say I could talk to him for 10 seconds and he told me not to worry and he was OK," Gardner said.

Around 4 p.m., after five hours of negotiating, Bonner released the final two hostages and surrendered, according to KTRK.

Afterwards, three bank employees emerged from a closet where they had been hiding during the ordeal, unbeknownst to Bonner. Police said that they were aware that the three employees were hiding, but to keep them safe did not inform Bonner of their presence.

A total of 10 hostages walked away unharmed, which included five bank employees and five bank customers. Police are continuing to question the hostages as well as the suspects to compile a minute-by-minute account of what happened inside the bank.

"This ended the best way it possibly could," said Lopez.

The police believe one or two suspects got away after the robbery and said that the dark blue truck that fled the scene of the robbery later was recovered.

Both Johnson and Bonner have criminal records that, between the two of them, include aggravated robbery, rape and burglary, according to KTRK.

Officials at Chase bank praised law enforcement for the successful negotiation.

"We are very relieved that the situation at our Pearland, Texas, branch was resolved and thank the FBI and police for their tremendous courage and help," said Mary Jane Rogers, Chase spokeswoman.

"We are working with employees and customers who were at the scene to provide any assistance they or their families need," Rogers added.

ABC News' Gina Sunseri and ABC Affiliate KTRK contributed to this report.

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