Robber is killed outside bank

Locator map of Prince George's County robbery location.
Laris Karklis/The Washington Post
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 29, 2011

At 9:22 a.m. Friday, a masked and hooded man walked up to a teller at the Capital One Bank in Takoma Park, placed a metallic-looking device with wires sticking out of it on the counter and pulled out a 9mm handgun.

He pointed it at the teller and at least two other employees.

A customer tried to grab the gun. The gunman then pistol-whipped him so badly the man bled onto the bank floor.

But his action created a diversion that allowed another employee to run out and summon help.

"He took immediate action. He put his life in danger," said Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Drew Tracy.

The incident would be over in 15 minutes - in the most dramatic of ways, under television cameras that broadcast the footage nationwide.

Police descended on the bank. But rather than give up quietly, the robber walked out holding a gun to a teller's head.

Police surrounded him as he used the teller as a shield. But as he stepped toward the parking lot, holding the teller in an armlock and aiming the gun at her head, a dye pack exploded. Moments later, the gunman slipped near a pile of snow, giving the teller a chance to slip from his grasp.

The robber chased her, but six officers opened fire at close range. He was dead at the scene.

A police officer was grazed but not seriously injured.

The dramatic ending was set in motion not just by the actions inside the bank but by the location of the bank itself - smack in the middle of one of the most heavily patrolled areas in the region.

Takoma Park has its own police force, and on most mornings its patrol officers make a point of being near the bank because of loitering problems.

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