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Man wounds 2 officers, holds hostage in Neb. store

A Box Butte County Sheriff's deputy holds an assault rifle while responding call 'shots fired officer down' Tuesday June 12 2012

A Box Butte County Sheriff's deputy holds an assault rifle while responding to a call of "shots fired, officer down" Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Alliance, Neb. Authorities say an officer has been shot and a man is holding police at bay inside a store in the Nebraska Panhandle city of Alliance. The officer was shot in an arm and was taken to Box Butte General Hospital. No other shots have been reported, but the downtown business district has been blocked off. (AP Photo/Alliance Times-Herald, Mark Dykes)

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ALLIANCE, Neb. (AP) — A gunman wounded two officers was holding at least one hostage inside a western Nebraska drugstore after a botched robbery attempt, authorities said Tuesday.

Alliance City Manager J.D. Cox said the gunman inside Thiele Pharmacy & Gifts was believed to be heavily armed and that there was “tremendous concern” for the hostage Tuesday afternoon.

The standoff began about 8:50 a.m. Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said a patrol SWAT team was on the scene, which she described as “extremely dangerous.” Entire downtown blocks in the small town of Alliance were shut down. Alliance is in the Nebraska Panhandle, about 370 miles west Omaha and 192 miles from Denver.

Cox said an Alliance police officer was shot in an arm early in the standoff and the trooper was wounded later in the morning. A spokeswoman for Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance declined to comment about their conditions because the standoff was continuing.

Collins would not comment on the hostage and did not immediately return a later call after the wounding of the SWAT team member was reported.

John Weare, managing editor of the Alliance Times-Herald newspaper, said his downtown building’s front door has been locked since the incident began and that no one had left the building.

The name of the officer and other details about the shootings and standoff haven’t been released. A police dispatcher told The Associated Press that more information wasn’t available yet.

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