Chief Said Officers "Perfect" in Robbery Shooting

By Tim Persinko
|  Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 3:55 PM EDT
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Chief Ronald Ricucci said his officers did everything right on Friday in a bank robbery that turned into a hostage situation.

Chief Ronald Ricucci said his officers did everything right on Friday in a bank robbery that turned into a hostage situation.

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Witnesses Talk About Friday's Bank Robbery, Hostage Situation

A gunman was killed after taking hostages at a bank in Takoma Park.

Takoma Park Hostage Situation Surveillance Video

Surveillance video from Tony's Villa Pizza show's the Takoma Park gunman pass the store with his hostage moments before she broke free and he was shot and killed by police.
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The chief of Takoma Park police had high praise for the officers who responded to a bank robbery on Friday that ended with the shooting death of the suspect.

"The obvious goal is to rescue the hostage, no officers get hurt, not citizens get hurt," said Chief Ronald Ricucci, in an interview with NBC4 on Monday, "and we did accomplish that, so it was a success."

Takoma Park officers were the first to respond to the bank robbery at the Capitol One Bank at 1811 University Boulevard East on Friday morning.  Three officers from the department were involved, Sgt. Tyrone Collington, Cpl. Thomas E. Black, and Pr. David Quante.

"They did what they did by the textbook, and they were careful," Ricucci said.

An armed man entered the Capitol One Bank at 9:20 a.m. and demanded money from the teller.

On Monday afternoon, police identified the suspect as Carlos Rudolfo Espinoza Arcia, 43, from the 5400 block of Sargent Road in Hyattsville, Md.

Arcia was carrying two packages that he claimed were explosive devices, which later turned out to be kitchen sponges covered in tin foil.

Chief Ricucci said that Sgt. Collington observed the robbery suspect through a window in the bank carrying a pistol and taking a hostage.  Ricucci said that the sergeant requested a SWAT team for help, but the team did not arrive before the shooting started. 

As the suspect emerged from the bank holding a hostage, the chief said the 3 Takoma Park officers and the 3 additional Prince George's officers that had responded fell back on their training.

"We train for what we call an active shooter, it's something that we've all done since Columbine," Ricucci said.  "Because we know we always can't wait for SWAT."

The Chief said that prior to the showdown with Arcia outside the bank, there was no communication between Prince George's officers and the Takoma Park officers.

 "No one directed anybody, everybody did as they are trained," Ricucci said.  When the robbery suspect slipped, the female bank teller he was holding managed to run away.  The suspect gave chase, pointing his gun at the teller, which is when police opened fire and killed the man.

One officer was struck by a ricocheting bullet.

The chief said that he and his department would continue to review the tape, but was effusive in his praise for the way the officers handled the robbery and hostage situation.

"The officers used their natural training and it went perfect," he said.  "As a chief, you couldn't ask for them to do better, especially when you've got two different agencies on the scene."

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