Denver police take over investigation of incident at Aurora FirstBank where 2 men are detained

Report: Man was forcing 2nd man to withdraw money

AURORA, Colo. - Denver police have taken over the investigation of an Aurora bank incident, in which there were reports that one man had forced another to withdraw money from the bank.

Just before 9:40 a.m., Aurora police dispatchers received several calls about a possible robbery at the FirstBank on South Havana Street at East Iliff Avenue. The calls came from people inside the bank.

Aurora Police Officer Frank Fania said that one of the two men handed a note to a bank teller, but investigators weren't initially sure if it was a robbery, some sort of extortion plot or something else.

The two men were detained when they walked out of the bank, Fania said.

One witness told 7NEWS that he saw a third person running through the parking lot southeast from the Bank.

When asked if there was another suspect, Fania said, “We’re still trying to figure that out.”

Denver police may have taken over the investigation because police radio traffic said the suspect, described as a 20-year-old black man with corn rows, a white T-shirt and a green Miami Dolphins cap, had forced a 50-year-old white man in a black jumpsuit to go to the bank to withdraw money.

"The suspect passed a note (to a bank teller) and then took a customer and forced him to withdraw money," a dispatcher radioed at about 9:50 a.m. "We still have a suspect on scene in the teller line. And we got units set up around the bank."

As the black man walked out of the bank, heading east across the parking lot, a large force of officers rushed in to arrest him, witnesses said.

"So far we have one (suspect) in custody," the dispatcher advised other officers. "And he should also have a .22 revolver in his right front pocket. We're still clearing the bank."

Several officers were guarding the young man in the Dolphins cap who was handcuffed and sitting in the parking lot.

"All of a sudden there were cops everywhere with their guns drawn," said Colby Ayers, who works at a nearby auto-glass repair shop. "Then the next thing we know there's a bunch of hostages coming out (of the bank)."

A witness told 7NEWS that the older man, with a bald head, was handcuffed, placed on a gurney and taken by ambulance to a hospital after complaining about pain.  Fania said the man had no visible injuries.

Fania initially said reports of hostage-taking at the bank were unfounded. However, he added that Aurora police were investigating if the bank incident began in another city's jurisdiction. Then Aurora police emailed a news update at 2:37 p.m. saying Denver was taking over the case.  

Police had difficulty sorting out the confusing bank incident.

"At this point, we don't know what the heck happened inside (the bank)," Fania told reporters an hour after the incident. "A note was passed (to a teller). We still haven't been able to tell if it was a robbery (demand) or something else was written down on the note."

Adding to the confusion, Fania said, "we're getting two completely different stories" from the two suspects in custody.

Fania said it was unclear who wrote the note handed to the teller or if both men wrote different parts of it. It was written on a bank form.

The men's relationship was also murky, Fania said. "We just don't know how they know each other or how long they've known each other."

About 15 to 20 people were seen outside the bank talking to officers and writing apparent witness statements, Roughly 60 feet of crime scene tape bordered the north side of the bank to keep passersby from walking onto the property.

“It was a pretty crazy Friday,” Ayers said.

The FBI's Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force is assisting in the investigation.