Robbery suspect eludes police after long standoff

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A tense standoff between Richmond Police and a robbery suspect is over, but police are still looking for the man who barricaded himself in an apartment for more than eight hours.

This happened in the Chippenham Place Apartments on Orcutt Lane on the Southside.

The man barricaded inside the apartment is wanted for a possible armed robbery around 3 o'clock Friday morning.

Police spent hours negotiating with this man, but when SWAT team members went inside, the suspect was nowhere to be found.

It looked like a scene out of a television drama. SWAT team members with high powered rifles paced the parking lot. Police dogs and even robots were on scene for this eight-hour standoff between Richmond Police and the robbery suspect.

Kiara Lewis woke up and found herself surrounded by police.

"I keep hearing, 'come out with your hands up. This is the Richmond Police,'" she said.

Police say the man on the other end of this standoff mugged someone in the same apartment complex early Saturday morning. This standoff started just three hours later.

Negotiators convinced the suspect barricaded inside to hand over an infant girl that was inside the apartment.

"Everybody is on pins and needles," said John Hedgespeth, who was with the suspect Friday night.  "This whole ordeal is just something no one foresaw."

Some people living in nearby apartments were briefly evacuated as a precaution.

This dramatic scene ended with a cliffhanger - the man police were negotiating with wasn't there when the SWAT team went inside.

Hedgespeth says the suspect seemed to be in a good mood, cracking jokes the night before.

"I would have never thought a situation like this would happen based on that moment last night," he said.  "When I heard what happened, I was like, 'this can't be real'."

Police say the standoff may be over but the manhunt to find this suspect is still going.

This man is not considered armed and dangerous. Police say the robbery was targeted and not a random act.

So far police have not released a name or description of the man wanted during this standoff.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.