Police ID Slain Takoma Park Bank Robbery Suspect

Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 7:00 PM EDT
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Police ID Slain Takoma Park Bank Robbery Suspect

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The gunman shot dead by police as he left the scene of a bank robbery with a hostage was identified Monday as 43-year-old Carlos Rudolfo Espinoza Arcia, of Hyattsville.

Espinoza Arcia took a female bank employee hostage during the robbery Friday morning and used her as a shield when he exited the bank, police said. After a dye pack exploded, he stepped in some snow and ice, allowing the hostage to get away.

Espinoza Arcia chased her with his gun drawn, and three Takoma Park officers and three Prince George's County officers opened fire, killing him.

One officer was grazed by a ricocheting bullet and the hostage's arm was scraped. Both were treated at area hospitals and released. A bank customer who was pistol-whipped when he tried to stop Espinoza Arcia remained hospitalized Sunday.

Takoma Park police officers were the first to respond to the bank robbery. Through a window in the bank, Sgt. Tyrone Collington observed the robbery suspect carrying a pistol and taking a hostage. Takoma Park Police Chief  Ronald Ricucci said that the sergeant requested a SWAT team for help, but the team did not arrive before the shooting started.

Two sources helped police identify the suspect Sunday. A coworker called Takoma Park police to report Espinoza Arcia had missed two days of work, and a landlord called in a missing person report to Prince George's County police because Espinoza Arcia hadn't been seen in two days. The name was the same name police had been trying to confirm.

Investigators went to Espinoza Arcia's residence and found a gun, sponges, copper wire and aluminum foil. Police said that during the bank robbery, the gunman claimed to have two bombs, which turned out to be kitchen sponges and copper wire wrapped in aluminum foil.

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