Tucson police fatally shoot suspected bank robber

2014-04-18T00:00:00Z 2014-04-18T10:04:02Z Tucson police fatally shoot suspected bank robberBy Carmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson police officers responding to a holdup alarm shot and killed a suspected bank robber in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo branch on a busy south-side street Thursday afternoon.

Nearby residents said they heard about 20 rounds fired during the shooting at about 1:30 p.m. outside the bank at 145 E. 22nd St. The bank is between South Sixth and South Fourth avenues, just south of downtown.

Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson Police Department spokesman, said police received an alarm call from the bank. Contact was made with someone inside the bank who told authorities that a robbery was in progress.

Officers arrived within minutes and confronted the suspected robber outside the bank and shots were fired, Widmer said. The man, who had a gun, was shot.

Police officers performed CPR on the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene, just outside the bank’s front doors. No officers were injured.

Widmer could not immediately say if the suspected robber shot at officers. The names of the officers who fired their guns were not released Thursday.

Numerous officers responded to the bank and were seen by area residents. People said they heard officers yelling, “Put your hands up, put your hands up!” and then heard gunfire, described as “firecrackers going off.”

Police closed 22nd Street in both directions between Fourth and Sixth avenues for most of the day, and reopened 22nd just before 7 p.m.

Homicide detectives are handling the criminal investigation, and the Office of Internal Affairs was handling an administrative investigation to see whether police followed departmental rules and procedures, which is standard protocol in shootings involving officers.

This is the second Tucson police officer-involved shooting since last Friday. In that case, a man was shot and wounded at a north-side apartment complex where officers went to serve a search warrant. The man, Michael Castillo, 36, a suspect in drug crimes, ran from officers but turned and fired at them during the chase, police said.

And this is the second time this year officers were involved in a fatal shooting involving a bank robbery suspect.

In February, a man with a weapon robbed the Chase Bank at6257 E. Broadway, ran into a neighborhood and hid in a backyard shed at a house.

Officers received a 911 call from the house, and when officers ordered Armando Alvarez, 44, out of the shed, Alvarez came out holding what looked like a weapon, and three officers fired. Alvarez was holding an automotive tool, similar to a filter wrench. He died at a hospital.

Last year, Tucson police officers were involved in eight shootings; five were fatal.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@azstarnet.com or 573-4104.

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