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Chino bank robber opens fire on officer

February 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A Chino police officer was shot during a bank robbery at a California Bank and Trust branch on Wednesday, authorities said.

Police say the masked suspect was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and was wearing body armor when he walked into the bank at 5455 Riverside Dr. and robbed it at about 11:15 a.m.

Michael Spain, who lives across the street, said he heard the shots. He said bank employees told him that after the suspect got money, he ordered everyone to the back of the room.

"But the employee said before they got to the back of the room, the guy turned around very quickly and ran to the front door ... as soon as the guy got to the front door, the employee said that he heard the firing," Spain said.

The Chino Police Department says an officer was in the area on a routine patrol when he saw the gunman running from the bank. The suspect opened fire on the officer, hitting him reportedly in the leg.

The wounded officer was able to drive himself to Chino Valley Medical Center.

"So the staff came out (with) a gurney, and another officer had to pull him out of the car and put him in the gurney .. he was yelling out in pain," Gomez said.

In the evening, he was listed in stable condition.

Cyle McCorkle, an Arrowhead water worker, was making his round of morning deliveries when the shots rang out.

"It sounded like dynamite going off, pretty much," McCorkle said. "It was very loud and it was rapid, probably five or six times going off."

"As soon as I heard the shots, I took off and ran in the other direction and kind of stood up on the porch over there and I saw this other guy take off," McCorkle said. "I'm assuming he was the guy carrying the gun doing the shooting, and a car spun out and took off."

Frances Gomez said it was a second officer on a motorcycle who rushed into the hospital to get help.

In the bank parking lot, police collected bags of money dropped by the gunman.

A manhunt was under way for the gunman, who was seen fleeing in a four-door sedan. Police are not releasing a more specific car description, but witnesses described it as a dark-colored Nissan Altima, chrome wheels, with an Arizona license plate.

The suspect was described as a white man between the ages of 35 and 40, blue eyes, about 6-feet to 6-feet-2-inches tall, weighing 200 to 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing light-colored jeans with a dark navy shirt and what appeared to be a bulletproof vest.

Chino High, Anna A. Borba Fundamental Elementary, Oxford Preparatory Academy, Countrywood Elementary and Walnut Avenue Elementary schools were placed on lockdown immediately after the robbery, but the lockdowns were lifted about 12:45 p.m.

Anyone with information was urged to call the Chino Police Department at (909) 628-1234.