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Suspect Critically Wounded After Santa Ana Bank Robbery

Orange County

Crime: Gunman is shot hours after driving off. Police find wife and child in the car.

November 16, 2001|MAI TRAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A bank robbery suspect was in critical condition Thursday after being shot and wounded by police and an FBI agent after a holdup in Santa Ana, authorities said.

The suspect, whose identity was not released, was at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana with several gunshot wounds to the chest, Santa Ana Police Sgt. Baltazar De La Riva said.

Investigators said the man, wearing a bandanna over his nose and mouth and carrying a black semiautomatic gun, jumped the counter at a Union Bank of California branch in a supermarket at 17th Street and Grand Avenue about 11 a.m. and ordered tellers to fill a paper bag with money.

As he fled in a blue Honda Civic, a witness wrote down its license number and notified police. When officers tried to pull the car over about 1:45 p.m., the suspect rammed a parked car and fled on foot, leaving his wife and 3-year-old son in the vehicle.

De La Riva said he did not know if the woman and child were in the car during the bank robbery, what prompted officers to fire on the suspect or if the robbery weapon was found.

Ruben Ramirez, manager of a car dealership in the neighborhood, said he was in his office with a customer when he heard four shots.

"I was concerned that one of those bullets would get loose," Ramirez said.

He said a saleswoman ran to offer help to the woman and child, who were standing next to the car.

"I feel really bad for the baby," Ramirez said. "He didn't need to see that."

The incident was Santa Ana's second officer-involved shooting in a week. A veteran motorcycle officer shot and killed Arthur Anthony Magana, 21, on Nov. 8.

The incident began when the officer tried to pull Magana over for a traffic violation, the man fled and hid in an apartment complex, police said. De La Riva said the officer, whose name has not been released, fired one shot when Magana tried to reach for the officer's gun during a scuffle.

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