Around 9:30 on Thursday night, I saw Brad Pullen pull into the "Dog House Bar and Grill" in Arcola. This is where his family and friends were waiting, and praying, all day for his safe return. He was the last hostage inside the bank. When he arrived at the bar, everyone cheered, and lined up for hugs. They also called him a hero.
Pullen didn't want to go on camera and talk about his experience. But I sat down with him at the bar, as he ate a hamburger, and spoke to him about his time inside.
Police and investigators wouldn't say what happened that led to the end of the standoff. But Pullen shared his story with me. He says the suspect put the gun down to go to the bathroom. Right at that point, Pullen reached for the gun, and got to it before the suspect. He held the gun, and told the suspect, "I have the gun now. I think it's time to go." Then Pullen took his tie, and wrapped the suspects hands. That's when the two exited the building and the standoff ended.
Pullen told me he doesn't feel like a hero; he just did what he needed to do. But he says he was glad it was him inside at the end, and not any of the other hostages.
I also spoke with Pullen's grandfather, Jim. He told me the suspect asked him to send a message to the officers outside. That's when he left the bank. The suspect wanted Jim to tell police, that he's ready to surrender to the FBI. Jim says it was hard for him to leave the bank, knowing his grandson was still inside.
But at the end of the day, both men met again, at the Dog House. It's the family bar that Jim owns. They were greeted by other family members and friends. I was amazed by the support these people gave each other throughout the day, when they were worried about the safety of all those involved. They opened their arms to us, and shared their stories about the two men they know so well. And the two Pullen men were just as gracious, especially during a time they say, they don't want to relive.