Police in Maryland shot and killed a bank robber today after he slipped while attempting to flee with a teller held hostage at gunpoint. The dramatic shooting was captured live on camera by a local TV news helicopter.
Police officers were on scene at the bank robbery within a minute of the first calls for help. They say the robber was using a female teller as a shield when he left the bank. As the gunman walked with his hostage to the parking lot, surrounded by police, he appeared to slip on a patch of ice.
"The hostage broke away from the suspect," said Takoma Park Police Chief Ron Ricucci. Three police officers from Takoma Park and three others from nearby Prince George's County opened fire on the suspect.
"The suspect went down, was taken into custody. The suspect is dead," said Ricucci. One of the Prince George's County officers was grazed in the leg during the crossfire.
Police said they believed the suspect had something that looked like a bomb taped to him during the incident. "It was Styrofoam and would look like a bomb to somebody that didn't know what it was," said Ricucci.
A suspicious device also was recovered inside the bank. Chief Tom Manger of nearby Montgomery County, Maryland said, "We did find a device that may, may end up being a hoax device in the bank."
At least two civilians were injured, as well as the police officer. One was a hostage in the bank who may have been pistol-whipped. The other, also a hostage, went into shock. Police said their injuries were not life-threatening.
The video shows the robber walking out of the bank, holding the hostage in a headlock while pointing a gun at her head. An explosive dye pack, often put in with the money given to bank robbers, went off at the time of the shooting, though it's not known whether the dye may have distracted the gunman and caused him to slip.
"There were six people inside the bank," said Chief Ricucci. "They were all out at the time he came out with the last hostage."
The woman was taken to Prince George's County Hospital. "Obviously, she's shook up, but she's fine," said Ricucci.
Maj. Andrew Ellis of the Prince George's County Police Department said, "Things were moving very quickly and we had officers that had to make very quick, split-second decisions. From our point of view it looks like it was a successful resolution."