FLATLANDS, NY (PIX11)—A tense hostage situation following the botched robbery of a Brooklyn liquor store lasted several hours Wednesday before ending peacefully, and one of the freed hostages spoke exclusively to PIX11 News.
A local real estate agent, whose name is being withheld, entered the Arrow Wine & Liquor on Ave. N near Schenectady Ave. around 1:45 p.m. and bought a lottery ticket. As he turned to leave the store, he said, two men walked in and shoved him back to the counter. One pulled out a gun and announced the robbery, telling everyone to "lie down on the floor".
The real estate agent said he took a twenty-dollar bill out of his wallet and placed it on the counter before lying on the ground, alongside another customer and the store clerk.
Passersby saw the robbery in progress, however, and quickly alerted a police officer driving nearby, witnesses said.
As officers arrived on the scene the other customer inside the store, a local lawyer, said, "The cops are here, the cops are here."
"They can't be here that quickly," one of the suspects said in dismay, as both began stuffing handfuls of bills from the register into their pockets. The robbers then demanded the clerk take them out of a back door, placing a gun to his head, the real estate agent said. The store, however, has no back door.
While the panicked suspects tried to find an exit, the lawyer rushed for the door and ran to safety. He was tackled roughly a block away by police officers after failing to stop and put his hands in the air, police said.
As the two men began to rough up the clerk while trying to force him into a back room, the real estate agent scrambled out of the store.
Once in safety, the real estate agent who entered the store to play the lottery remarked, "I've already won; I got away with my life."
The clerk, a Russian grandfather-to-be who has worked at the store for four years, told PIX11 he saw his own opportunity to escape as the robbers became distracted while searching for a rear exit. He took off running for the door, ignoring the robbers' commands to stop, even after they fired a shot into the wall.
No one was injured in the standoff, and after lengthy negotiations with the robbers, both men eventually turned themselves in. Charges are currently pending for the two suspects, identified by police as Ted Peters, 23, of Remsen Ave., and Andrew Philson, 25, of Montgomery St.
The clerk told PIX11 it was the second time in two years that he had been robbed. Coincidentally it was also the day off for their guard dog, a Pit bull named Daisy.
Police presence was heavy at the scene -- there were hostage negotiators, TARU units, emergency service units with heavy weapons, K-9 units, a helicopter and a robot.
Roughly seven blocks were locked down by police for several hours. Parents at a nearby daycare waited anxiously while their children were locked inside as a precautionary measure.