Officer recalls fatal shooting of bank robber in Takoma Park

February 10, 2012

Sgt. Daniel Frishkorn got to the scene of the Capital One bank 20 seconds after the call went out. Frishkorn, a Takoma Park police patrol supervisor, was around the corner, about to pull into a 7-Eleven for coffee.

As he arrived, at the bank, employees and customers ran out, saying a bank robber had a gun to a teller’s head.


Carlos Rudolfo Espinoza Arcia. (Courtesy photo/Montgomery Police)

Frishkorn made eye contact with Arcia.

“He pointed the gun at me and motioned for me to come in the bank,” Frishkorn said.

Frishkorn knew he’d be at a tactical disadvantage if he went in, so he shook his head — “No.”

Arcia made his hostage put on her coat. Frishkorn knew they were coming outside.

“I said, ‘Okay, someone is going to get shot, and it’s not going to be me,’” Frishkorn said. “I decided I was going into a combat situation, and I became calm.”

Arcia exited the bank on the New Hampshire Avenue side, about 30 feet from Frishkorn. Frishkorn was coordinating officers on the scene, making sure all the entrances were blocked.

“I was on the corner. I had a shot, but he had the gun to her head so I didn’t want to take a chance,” Frishkorn said.

Within seconds, Arcia slipped, the hostage broke free and Arcia pointed his gun at her. Arcia ran into a perimeter of police and was shot 13 times by six officers, three from Takoma Park and three from Prince George’s County.

Frishkorn did not fire his weapon, but the incident shook him up.

He is a customer of the bank, as was Arcia. In fact, Arcia had been to the bank a day earlier. Police believe Arcia, who had a steady job, felt financial pressures to send money home to Nicaragua, where his wife and children lived.

“He had a steady job and made good money,” Frishkorn said.

But he made a series of bad decisions, and in the end probably felt trapped, Frishkorn said.

 “All he had to do was put the gun down and put his hands up and it would have ended differently,” Frishkorn said.

More on this story:

Killings in line of duty haunt police officers


View Photo Gallery: In rare and poignant interviews with The Washington Post, D.C. area police officers who have fatally shot suspects in justified incidents spoke of the torment after.

Read more: The Post’s crime coverage

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