Armed 16-Year-Old Takes Hostages in Bank

An armed 16-year-old walked into a bank, took two employees hostage and demanded to speak to a mental health counselor before surrendering Wednesday, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the standoff, which began when Daniel Eaton walked inside carrying a shotgun and handgun and fired a blast into a wall. He then took a man and woman captive, according to Sgt. John Flannigan of the Vermont State Police.

He told the employees he wanted to talk to a counselor, and police arranged to have one call the bank, Flannigan said.

"This was not a bank robbery," Flannigan said. "There was no effort to deprive the bank of any property."

The teenager also talked to a police negotiator, eventually agreeing to surrender after more than 2 1/2 hours. When he did, the hostages walked out of the bank first, carrying the weapons, Flannigan said. No customers were present at the time.

Eaton did not harm or threaten either worker, according to Thomas Leavitt, senior vice president of Merchants Bank.

Eaton, of Thetford, will be charged with kidnapping and reckless endangerment, Flannigan said. He is to be arraigned Thursday.

Police were alerted by a 911 call from the bank, and state and federal authorities responded to the village, located on the New Hampshire border. Highways were blocked off nearly a mile from the Main Street building and at least one nearby business was evacuated.