A hostage situation in downtown Buffalo has come to an end. Three hostages who had been inside a Broadway pawnshop near the Central Library emerged unharmed from the building shortly before 2 p.m. The suspect, described by police as "distraught," shot and killed himself.
Buffalo Police negotiated with the armed subject, who was inside the pawnshop on Broadway near Ellicott Street. SWAT and Crisis Management Team personnel responded to the scene earlier this morning.
Early reports from the scene indicated a man brandishing a shotgun was threatening suicide. The man has since taken hostages, drawing a massive response from law enforcement.
Police Department spokesman Michael DeGeorge said numerous law enforcement entities have responded to the situation.
"The Buffalo Police SWAT Team and the Buffalo Police Hostage Management Team were called to the scene earlier," DeGeorge told WBFO as the tense scenario unfolded. "They are on the scene negotiating with the individual. Police have described the situation at this point as an armed standoff."
DeGeorge said city law enforcers are receiving assistance the Erie County Sheriff's Department and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
There have been reports that three people are involved in the hostage situation, but police officials have not confirmed the number.
The owner of a coffee shop near the scene said he was asked to evacuate earlier this morning.
"An officer came in a couple minutes later and said we really need to move this along, there's an apparent botched robbery with apparently two hostages," said Bob Newman. "So, we did hurry right along and got out of there, locked the store up and walked up to the main block."
In a statement issued during the standoff, Buffalo Police Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards warned people to avoid the downtown area.
"Buffalo request the public to stay away from the area, as they continue to resolve this situation. Nearby streets have been cordoned off," said Richards.