No Hostage Situation
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee announced during a news brief at 3 p.m. that there was no hostage situation. A boy lied about being held hostage, texting his sister and posting on social media that he was being held hostage.
He posted saying he was stuck in the bathroom when his sister then called the police. More details to come after Sheriff Gee’s briefing.
Suspects In Custody
A Lakeland Sheriff’s Office spokesperson reported that the carjacking suspects involved in this mornings hostage situation are in custody.
There were no injuries reported and HCSO is expected to follow-up with a press release. Sheriff David Gee is expected to deliver the brief at 3 p.m. to media, via Facebook live.
McDonalds Employees Are Safe
Police say the McDonalds employees that were inside at the time of a hostage situation have made it outside safely. Crisis negotiators are on the scene still working the situation.
Victims are describing three males as the suspects. At this time there are possibly two suspects still inside. HSCO says they are hearing reports of someone still being held hostage inside, but they cannot confirm that.
Hostage Situation At Lakeland McDonalds
Police are on the scene at a Lakeland McDonalds where a hostage situation is occurring.
The incident began in Hillsborough County in the Brandon area with an armed carjacking, said local authorities. As authorities searched for the vehicle, the suspect was spotted on Interstate 4 half an hour later. Apparently there was more than one person in the car.
Both suspects fled into Polk County and exited at County Line Rd in Lakeland. Upon exiting the suspects bailed out of the vehicle and ran into a local McDonalds located right off of the exit. Deputies said several people that were inside the fast-food restaurant realized what was happening and fled, but it is believed that there are still some employees inside. At this time it is not clear how many employees are inside though.
The suspects are armed. There are multiple law agencies including, Florida Highway Patrol, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Lakeland police and SWAT teams on the scene. Both the on and off ramps for I-4 at County Line Road are shut down. Eastbound traffic on the interstate is heavily backed up, check www.fl511.com before making any travel plans.
The scene is still considered an active scene at this time. Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is on the scene at this time. He said, via, Twitter that Sheriff David Gee will be live on Facebook to brief the situation soon at the Fairfield Inn just down the road from the McDonalds. Be sure to check the HCSO Facebook page for his news conference at the scene of the incident.
Authorities urge commuters to stay clear of the area. This is a developing story, News Talk Florida will continue to follow this ordeal as more details become more available.