A robbery that escalated into a hostage crisis was defused by a quick-moving Henderson police officer Sunday.
It started about 7:30 a.m. when officers were called to a PetSmart store in the 500 block of North Stephanie Street, said police spokesman Todd Rasmussen. Officers believed a woman armed with a handgun had robbed the store and was attempting to flee in a white compact car.
The vehicle was gone when officers arrived at the store, but was soon spotted near U.S. Highway 95 and Tropicana Avenue, Rasmussen said.
The driver of the car refused to pull over and was seen waving a handgun at officers, Rasmussen said. Police believed that she was shooting at them, he added.
The pursuit continued for more than three miles. The driver would slow down near pedestrians on the side of the road, making police believe she was attempting to take a hostage, Rasmussen said.
At Vegas Valley Drive and Nellis Boulevard, the robbery suspect pulled into a gas station where a 70-year-old woman was filling her vehicle’s tank.
The driver grabbed the elderly woman and took her hostage, Rasmussen said.
Police surrounded them and ordered the robbery suspect to let her hostage go. She did not, police said.
Two hostage crisis negotiators approached the robbery suspect and her hostage from different sides, Rasmussen said. As one distracted the armed woman, the other, Officer M. Geiger, “took her down,” Rasmussen said.
Mandy Hagen, 28, was charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanor charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon and kidnapping with a deadly weapon. She was booked into the Henderson Detention Center.
Nobody was hurt, Rasmussen said.
The incident ended about 8:10 a.m., 40 minutes after police were called.
Police are now investigating whether Hagen actually fired at officers. If she did, Hagen will likely face additional charges, Rasmussen said.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904.