Taco Bell employee describes being held at gunpoint by robbery suspect

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A bank robbery at a Columbus PNC Tuesday ended in a hostage situation at a nearby Taco Bell. One of the people taken hostage is just 18 years old. She said the suspect pointed a gun at her head, but said he wasn’t going to hurt her.

Chante Thomas graduates from high school in December. She kept her cool as a man with a gun, bleeding, held her and a co-worker hostage at the Taco Bell on East Dublin Granville Road in the middle of the afternoon Tuesday.

 She said she’s looking at life a little differently.

 “I guess you gotta live every day like it’s your last because I didn’t know that today could have been my last day here,” she said.

Her nightmare started as she was coming out of the bathroom at work.

“I looked up and he tells me to put my hands up. So, I put my hands up, get on the ground.”

Then he started making demands.

“He puts the gun to my head and tells me to call his girlfriend and his mom.”

When they didn’t answer she said the man, bleeding from his stomach, made another call.

“Then he called 911 and he told her you know I’m at the Taco Bell on Dublin Granville. I have two hostages. I want the money that the police say I stole from the bank.”

He told Thomas and her co-worker the gun was a BB gun and that he wouldn’t hurt them, saying he needed them to help protect himself.

“Eventually he tells us he’s going to stand in between us so if the police try to shoot him they will shoot us too.”

The three walked out together, every step bringing Thomas closer to freedom.

“I had to be calm. I cried a little bit, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t beg for my life.”

The rest is a blur. She’s okay, scared. The man surrendered and was quickly taken into custody. Thomas says she won’t take her life for granted…she has a lot of years left to live.

Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Julius D. Core. He was shot in the stomach and underwent surgery Tuesday. Charges will come later.

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