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Hostage feared for life; may never return to credit union

Police say Nicholas Humphrey fired shot, held gun to heads, threatened to kill

Kenneth Lonon
Kenneth Lonon

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hostages held for two hours Thursday morning inside a credit union by a gunman with unclear motives are talking about their scary ordeal.

Some of the 13 people held inside the First Community Credit Union thought they were going to die, and the gunman, who police have identified as Nicholas Humphrey, did fire a shot into the air and held a gun to at least one person's head. 

Kenneth Lonon stayed home Friday, still recuperating from the scare he received.

"Still a little nervous about it, because when I lay down last night I could see that gun," Lonon said. "Everybody was praying. They were praying silently and I was praying silently. Some of the ladies were crying because you could see tears. We didn't know what his mind was going to be."

Lonon, who uses a walker, said his first contact with the gunman was outside when the man asked if he needed help getting inside. Minutes later, that same man would threaten him with a gun.

Why Humprey was there is still unclear. While Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the gunman asked for money at one point, the hostages who spoke with News4Jax didn't hear that. Some said he did ask for some family members to be brought to the bank. He also had a dog and a bag of dog food with him.

"He said, 'I didn't want any money. No, I don't want no money,'" Lonon said. "He never told us the reason why he did it. He looked like he was possessed."

Lonon said what the gunman simply wanted to talk to his family, but he kept making threats.

"He kept saying, 'If the police shoot me, I'm going to kill somebody. I need to speak to my daddy; my mama,'" Lonon said. "And I think he said, 'My sister.'"

Lonon said he heard the distraction made by two hostages who had been hiding from the gunman, which was the opportunity the SWAT team needed to swarm the building, capture the gunman and free the hostages.

"When they did come, they came full force, with machine guns," Lonon said. "And somebody went in, open(ed) that back door and all of us got on out of there," Lonon said. "The police were out there they said come this way come this way come this way."

Lonon said he has banked with First Community for a year and likes it, but he’s not sure he going to be able to return because the people who bring him here are very nervous. The bank reopens Monday.

Asked what he would tell Humphrey if he had the chance, Lonon replied, "He needs to pray."


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