One in custody after rifle-wielding suspect demands drugs at hospital ER

Posted at 3:17 PM, May 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-07 17:17:55-04

By Mayra Cuevas and Joe Sterling


(CNN) — Police in the western New York city of Lockport said they were interviewing an individual in an early-morning robbery at a hospital, the city’s police chief said.

No arrests have been made, police Chief Michael Niethe told reporters at a press conference on Saturday.

“We’re not confident we have the right person,” Niethe said. “We’re confident the scene is safe.”

“I will let you know as soon as we make an arrest, if we make an arrest.”

Eastern Niagara Hospital told police at 4:57 a.m. that an armed man walked into the emergency room and demanded drugs. He was armed with two rifles and claimed to have a bomb, Niethe said.

Police responded immediately and got there while the suspect was still in the building.

The man made off with some items. Police spokeswoman Julie Snyder told CNN he made off with some prescriptions.

The suspect dropped his weapons and a backpack and fled on foot. One of the officers fired two shots at the suspect. Police don’t think he was hit.

A bomb squad determined that an item in a backpack was an inert device.

“We got lucky at that end,” Niethe said. “We recovered a lot of evidence at the scene.”

Niethe said that the hospital was fully locked down for a number of hours and authorities told residents to shelter in place. Those directives were eventually lifted.

“It took a number of hours to search the area,” Niethe said.

Lockport is in Niagara County and is more than 20 miles north of Buffalo.

Images from CNN affiliate WIVB showed a police SWAT team outside the hospital and a helicopter surveying the area.

Police described the suspect as a white male, 6 feet tall with blond hair. He was wearing khaki pants, a khaki shirt and a ski mask.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

The hospital issued a statement saying, “Patients and staff at the facility are safe.”

CNN’s David Shortell contributed to this report.