The little town near which I grew up and from which I graduated from high school hasn't had this much press since Dave Barry used to write about marching in the annual Broom Corn Festival parade with the Lawn Rangers. A day-long crisis in which a bad guy from Chicago ("aren't they all?" is the downstate attitude) was holed up with hostages in a little bank branch in town.
Some media are reporting that it ended when the gunman laid down the gun to pee and the remaining hostage grabbed the gun, tied the guy up with the hostage's necktie and marched him out the door. Our local newspaper is saying the guy surrendered peacefully. I'll go with the dramatic version. This is what one of my brothers, the Internationalist, who is home from Vienna for a few weeks to attend weddings had to say about it in a family email.
"The town is small but things ended well. Brad Pullen,
the bank manager who was taken hostage along with his
grandfather(who just happened to be meeting with his
grandson) and five of his employees coolly persuaded
the strung-out hostage-taker to release everyone else.
Then, after seven hours, Brad grabbed the
hostage-taker's gun when he laid it down (to pee),
tied the hostage-taker up with his necktie, and
marched him out of the bank.
"Brad is Gene's friend and was his classmate. He is
the son of one of my classmates, Rick, from my 12
years in Arcola schools. His grandfather has a bar
(the Dog House) down the street from Wilmer's house.
As Rick reminded me last night at the celebrations, in
school we always used to be in the alphabetic lineups
together: Otto, Pullen...
"To further illustrate the town's entanglements...
Brad's fiancée and mother of his three-month-old child
is the granddaughter of my first-grade teacher, Mrs.
McCoy. Brad's sister is the girlfriend of the son of a
classmate of Rick and I, Matt McClain. On Saturday
night, Matt's country music band, the Humboldt
Thunder, played at Brad's grandpa's bar, the Dog
House. I had a long conversation with Matt's wife
(she married Matt when she was 15 and he was 16). She
said for the first time she and Matt were going to
travel. They were taking Matt's motorcycle down to the
"Rick and Matt are very proud that their sons have gone
to college and amounted to something.
"Brad is a very calm, quiet guy. He didn't make any big
statement to the media. When he finished talking to
the police at 9:30 last night, he calmly walked into
the Doghouse, sat at a corner of the bar and didn't
have much to say.
"Here's a story by WBBM the CBS affiliate in Chicago.
Their video is particularly good. They happened to be
interviewing Brad's grandmother when she got the call
that he'd gotten out.
"Of course, a www.news.google. com search for Arcola &
hostage will get you a lot of stories.
"There were many happy people in the Dog House last