Published: Jan 05, 2011 9:30 PM EST
Updated: Jan 05, 2011 6:30 PM EST

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) - Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler have converged on a fast-food restaurant after exchanging gunfire at a nearby shopping mall with a man they described as a robbery suspect.

Television reports show several officers with guns drawn outside the Baja Fresh restaurant next to the Chandler Regional Mall.

An armored vehicle has been brought into the scene and a tactical team has set up inside a furniture store near the restaurant.

Police have not yet entered the restaurant.

After the gunfight, police evacuated hundreds of midday shoppers from the mall.

KPHO-TV reports the suspect was holding two people hostage in the restaurant.  It's believed the suspect is the same man who was inadvertently released from an Arizona jail after a previous shootout with law enforcement in December.