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Guard Hurt, Suspect Shot in Bank Heist

Crime: Robbers armed with an assault rifle ambush an armored car in Long Beach, police say. One of the accused gunmen surrenders at hospital for treatment.

June 11, 1996|JOHN COX | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Robbers critically wounded the driver of an armored car during a shootout Monday morning in front of a North Long Beach bank, police said.

One of the suspects who allegedly fired at the driver's partner also suffered multiple gunshot wounds and turned himself in for treatment at a hospital.

Three to four assailants left at least seven bags of cash at the Farmers & Merchants National Bank before escaping with an unspecified amount of money, Long Beach Police spokeswoman Karen Kerr said. The van was found abandoned blocks away.

The uninjured guard, an employee of Armored Transport of California, had just completed a drop-off and was wheeling cash back to the truck when a dark gray van going eastbound on Artesia Boulevard suddenly made a sharp right turn in front of him at Indiana Avenue.

One suspect wearing a ski mask jumped out and fired a handgun, Kerr said. "It was pretty ruthless," Kerr said.

The guard fired back and apparently hit the suspect. The guard fled, however, when a second gunman apparently armed with an assault rifle emerged from the van, Kerr said. He raced to a nearby alley to call for help.

The driver never left the truck and, although police say he never fired a shot, several of the second gunman's shots pierced the driver's side of the truck. He was hit once and and was listed in critical but stable condition with injuries to his spleen and kidney. Police did not release the identification of the guards.

One of the suspects, apparently the first gunman, checked into Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center just before noon seeking medical treatment for several gunshot wounds, including one that had torn off part of his ear. Police charged the man, 30-year-old Tony Miller of Los Angeles, with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. Kerr said he is a suspected gang member, as are the other suspects.

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