The Capital One bank at University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park, Md., was open Saturday a day after a gunman was killed by police following a robbery attempt and hostage situation.
Police shot and killed the suspect after he stumbled in a pile of snow from Wednesday's storm and his female hostage broke free, authorities said.
There were five bank associates and one customer in the bank during the robbery. Those five bank associates were given the day off Saturday.
Montgomery County Police Assistant Chief Drew Tracy said the suspect had pistol-whipped a customer who saw him take a handgun from his pocket while standing in line at the bank. The suspect then placed a 4-inch by 5-inch hoax bomb -- a sponge wrapped in foil and duct tape with copper wires sticking out of it -- by a teller station and walked behind the counter.
Takoma Park police patrolling the shopping center arrived a minute later -- followed by police from Prince George's and Montgomery counties -- and he went behind bulletproof glass, where he kept hostages at gunpoint, Tracy said.
Surveillance video from inside the bank showed the gunman -- wearing a long parka with a hood, gloves and a mask -- struggling with the customer, Tracy said. He later pointed his 9mm gun at several people, but the teller he took hostage remained cool, Tracy said.
After about 14 minutes in the bank, the suspect, who had a second hoax bomb taped to his body, walked out holding a gun to the teller's head and using her as a shield as he confronted officers outside, Tracy said. A dye pack exploded in the bag from the bank, spraying red dust into the air. Video shows him backing away with the woman when the suspect tripped over a snow pile. The teller, seeing her chance to flee, pushed away and the suspect lost his footing as he tried to follow her with the gun pointed at her back, Tracy said. Officers then fired on the man, fatally injuring him, he said. The woman ran toward police and held her hands up to cover her ears.
While Montgomery County police investigate the robbery and shooting, the three Takoma Park officers -- Acting Lt. Tyrone Collington Sr., Cpl. Thomas E. Black and Pfc. David M. Quante Jr. -- and three Prince George's County officers -- Acting Sgt. Robbie Loveday, Cpl. Bryan Medina and Officer Osiris Lopez Jr. -- who fired shots have been placed on routine administrative paid leave.
Police said investigators must match the suspect's fingerprints to identify him and that that might take until Monday. He was identified only as a man in his 40s who lived in the area.
Three people were treated for injuries that were not life-threatening: an officer who was grazed in the leg by a bullet, the customer whose head was wounded as he scuffled with the suspect, and the hostage who received a scrape to her elbow, police said.
The storefront bank, which has two entrances and is fronted by plate glass windows, sits between a Starbucks Coffee shop and a fabric store in a shopping center just inside the Capital Beltway.
Edgar Diaz, 28, of Wheaton, was by the glass front window of a nearby Rent-a-Center when he suddenly saw five people running from the bank two doors down. The people said there was a robbery and Diaz, the assistant manager, and the other workers hurried to the back of their store and called police.
In just a couple of minutes officers were outside. Diaz said he heard at least four shots a short time later.
"I was panicked," Diaz said.
Manager Patric Greene didn't believe it when he first heard there was a robbery. Later, after hearing shots, he saw the officers carrying a woman he believes was the former hostage toward their store.
"She was kicking and screaming," Greene said. "I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was obviously very shaken up."