Coroner: Wheaton standoff suspect shot himself

September 7, 2008 6:11:56 PM PDT
A preliminary autopsy backs up earlier reports that the suspect in a suburban Chicago bank standoff died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The DuPage County coroner's office posted a note on its Web site Saturday saying Michael Long died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The statement calls the death an apparent suicide.

The hostage situation unfolded Friday afternoon at 211 South Wheaton Avenue when Michael Long, 41, took people hostage inside the bank for three hours.

"He was calm. He just said he was having a very bad day," said Kevin Macadam, a bank customer's husband.

According to police, the hostage situation started around 1:30 p.m. Friday when a call came in reporting a hit-and-run at Wheaton Bank and Trust. That call turned out to be a ruse, and when an officer arrived on the scene to investigate, Long came up from behind with a knife, cut the man's arm, took his g and ran into the bank.

"I saw the cop. He was visibly shaken. He went back to the car," witness Shawn Flaherty said.

Approximately 12 people were inside the bank itself, but there were many others in top floors of the building. While hostage negotiators tried to keep Long on the phone, SWAT teams went inside to get those not being held hostage out.

"They grabbed me and forced me against the wall, and they forced me into a spread and did a pat down. They also did that to my partner," evacuee John Mulherin said.

Once secured, SWAT herded everyone into an upstairs stairwell until it was safe to exit. Then, teams rushed them out of the building with their hands over their heads.

In the meantime, police negotiated the release of 10 of the 12 hostages. One woman spoke with ABC7 Chicago over the phone about her experience.

First I didn't think it was real. I thought it was like a fire drill for bank robberies. And when I saw him point the gun at everybody, I knew it wasn't, and I was very scared," Marianne Macadam said.

At some point, Long cut off communication with police and began to close the blinds inside the bank. Then, at 4:15 p.m., a single gunshot was heard. SWAT rushed inside and found Long's body. The medical examiner's office has yet to confirm that Long shot himself in the head.

The day after the hostage situation, police were still trying to figure out what motivated Long to carry out the act. Authorities say the husband and father of two had previous encounters with police, but in general, had been considered to be quite harmless.


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