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UPDATE: Saugus bank robbery suspect shot, killed in Lancaster

Adds details from press conference

Posted: November 9, 2012 9:51 a.m.
Updated: November 9, 2012 2:02 p.m.

L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies meet in front of the Bank of America branch at the corner of Seco Canyon Road and Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus after the bank was robbed on Friday morning.

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An armed robber held up the Bank of America in Saugus today and fled in an SUV to the Antelope Valley, where he was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Lancaster.

Deputies followed him on Sierra Highway and Highway 14 all the way to Lancaster, where he exited the freeway and stopped in a residential area of Lancaster. Traffic was light on the freeway, and pursuing deputies called for a spike strip.

One of the SUV’s tires was blown out by a spike strip, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said during a news conference in Lancaster around 1:30 p.m.

The man got off the freeway and drove into a neighborhood, eventually pulling into a cul-de-sac where he was boxed in by deputies, Nishida said. The man stopped in the 45000 block of Desert Springs Drive and was warned to stand down, Nishida said.

The man got out of his car and then got back into it as law enforcement surrounded him. Deputies tried non-lethal methods of subduing, including stun bags, Nishida said. When he brandished a gun at them, they opened fire.

“Deputies feared for their lives and opened fire on the suspect,” she said.

He was shot through the windshield of the SUV shortly after 10 a.m.

Early reports indicated he was an Agua Dulce resident.

Radio reports indicated he was throwing things from the vehicle - possibly money – in the residential area before he stopped the car.

A witness in the residential area where the alleged robber was shot confirmed that account, saying she rushed out to get some when deputies told her to get back inside.

Ladda Purdiman said she was inside when the shooting began. She said she heard two distinct shots followed by multiple gunshots. She estimated 20 to 30 gunshots were fired - “either way, that was too many rounds for one person.”

“This happened right in front of someone’s house,” said Purdiman, who lives on Desert Springs and Desert Calico Drive. “It’s lucky they didn’t accidentally hit somebody.”

The robber walked out of the Bank of America branch at Bouquet Canyon Road and Seco Canyon Road shortly after the branch opened around 9 a.m., a witness told The Signal. Reports during the chase indicated he was armed with a handgun.

The man, dressed in camouflage with a patch over part of his face, carried a bag from the bank and threw a dye pack from it before getting into a big, dark-gray SUV and driving away on Seco Canyon Road, said the Valencia resident, who asked that her name not be published.

The woman said she was outside the bank when the robbery occurred.

The man also threw a bag containing a few hundred dollars before getting into his vehicle, reports from the scene indicated. The brown paper bag was retrieved from a grassy area outside the bank, which was shut down and roped off with yellow police tape after the robbery.

Witnesses were still being questioned inside after 1 p.m. Investigators had sent out for pizza.

Around 9:40 a.m., a lone sheriff’s deputy reported he was following the robbery suspect's vehicle north on Sierra Highway, and the pursuit began.

The driver led deputies up Sierra Highway to Agua Dulce, and those in pursuit speculated that he might be going home. But the SUV driver continued onto the 14 freeway northward with deputies in pursuit. Speeds reached about 75 mph.

The residential area where the driver stopped is near West Avenue H and 10th Street West.




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