Suspect in Bellevue bank robbery shot, killed in mall cafe

By MIA PENTA

Associated Press

BELLEVUE – Police shot and killed a bank robbery suspect Tuesday in a Bellevue Square Nordstrom cafe crowded with lunchtime diners. No one else was hurt.

“My instinct was to drop. My instinct was to run,” said Mary Ruble, who was about 8 feet away when police drew their guns and fired.

The shooting took place in a back hallway of the Nordstrom Grill, where the man had been sitting after apparently changing his clothes in a restroom, Bellevue Police spokeswoman Marcia Harnden said.

“When he sat down, he was very anxious looking, fidgeting,” Patti Anderson, who was at the cafe, told KIRO-TV.

The restaurant is on the second floor of the upscale apparel store. Police were searching the mall after the robbery of a Bank of America branch a few blocks away.

Harnden said the man, in his early 20s, was sitting in the cafe when police arrived. He then ran to the back hallway, where another officer was waiting.

The man pulled a handgun, and two officers fired about four shots. The officers were described as veterans, though neither had been involved in a shooting before, she said.

Neither the shooting victim nor the officers were immediately identified Tuesday evening.

“I heard the cops yell ‘Get down!’ and shots,” said cook Levi Stearns, 22. “It was that quick.”

The suspect was found with money in his backpack, Harnden said, but she did not say how much.

Harnden said a man entered the bank branch at 11 a.m., showed a gun and told everyone to get down. He ran off with an undisclosed amount of money.

Shopping center officials were told shortly thereafter that he was seen heading toward the mall, said Jennifer Leavitt, mall vice president for marketing. The shooting took place about an hour later.

Customers were told to leave Nordstrom, but some people remained in the cafe, Harnden said.

Nordstrom closed for the rest of the day, but the rest of the mall remained open. Grief counselors were made available for witnesses and employees.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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