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Orange County Digest

Irvine : Man Shot by Police at Bank Dies of Wounds

September 06, 1985|Dave Palermo and Bill Billiter \f7

A 62-year-old man who was shot by police last week while allegedly attempting to rob an Irvine bank died of his wounds Thursday at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, authorities said.

James Clifford Ballentyne was shot several times in the chest, arms and legs last Friday. Police said he was shot as he left the Crocker National Bank, 19000 MacArthur Blvd., with a loaded .45- caliber automatic handgun and a briefcase with $40,000. Ballentyne, a recent retiree, had no criminal record.

Police said that Ballentyne attempted to use assistant bank manager Don Finer as a hostage in the late afternoon holdup but that Finer was able to slip away from his captor, who then pointed his handgun at three patrol officers and was shot six times.

Both the Orange County district attorney's office and the Irvine Police Department are investigating the shooting. An autopsy was performed Thursday, but the results were not immediately available.

Family members told police that Ballentyne and his wife had no money problems and that he was not suffering from any serious illnesses that might prompt him to stage a holdup in order to mask a suicide attempt.

"He was just your typical, middle-aged guy," Police Sgt. Dick Bowman said.

Ballentyne's wife, Delphia, said Sunday that her husband's alleged holdup of the bank was inexplicable to her. She said that he had never mentioned such a possibility and that the couple had no pressing money problems "that I know of."

"It's all so sad," she said. "The first I knew of (the bank incident) was when the Irvine police came here (to the couple's mobile home in Anaheim)."

Delphia Ballentyne said her husband had worked for TRW at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino for six years. She said he retired in May after suffering a stroke in February. They had no children.

Deputy Dist. Atty. LorenW. Du Chesne said his investigation into the shooting should be completed in a week. He said criminal charges were not filed against Ballentyne because he had been in critical condition since the shooting.

Bowman said evidence gathered in the departmental investigation so far indicates that the officers were justified in firing at Ballentyne.

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