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Police Kill Md. Bank Robbery Suspect, Hostage Escapes

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TAKOMA PARK, Md. (WJZ) — It looked like a scene out of a big blockbuster movie, but it was real life. A man tries to rob a bank in Takoma Park, taking a woman hostage and the whole thing unfolds before news cameras.

 Kelly McPherson spoke with people who watched the whole thing happen.

 A hooded, gloved, masked gunman took a back teller hostage in Takoma Park on Friday morning. Eleven officers were standing by, guns drawn as the Hispanic man in his 40s points a 9MM gun at the woman.

Police say the teller remained calm. Then the suspect slipped and she ran off.

Officers fired, killing the man. One bullet grazed the leg of an officer.

“When you see that handgun pointed at that individual’s back you have to make an immediate response,” said Montgomery County Assistant Chief Drew Tracy.

Forensics will check if the 9MM was working. Police say the suspect did not fire, but did pistolwhip a customer in the back who tried to take away the weapon.

When the suspect was out on the sidewalk, he had money from the bank, but an employee had put a red dye pack in the bag–that’s what you’ll see explode on the video.

“I’m sure this individual was going to spend a short period of time, did not want to go behind the bullet-proof glass, probably did not want to take hostages, but then it was chaotic.  Obviously this individual was not making correct decisions at that point in time,” Tracy said.

Bank customers say the busy plaza is not where they’d expect a robbery.

“It’s kind of odd for somebody to think that he’s going to do it and just walk away,” said Nelson Romero, bank customer. “Just nuts to even consider it.”

“It’s insane, that video.  That man was probably out of his mind,” said Cedric McDonald, neighbor.

The suspect also had two fake devices made out of copper wires, aluminum foil and duct tape. The hostage’s only injury was a scrape on her elbow.

Takoma Park officers were involved in the shooting, so Montgomery County is taking charge of the investigation. The suspect’s name will not be released until his family is notified.

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