RENO, Nev. – A customer was killed Wednesday when he tried to intervene in the robbery of a Bank of America branch, police said, resulting in a rare case in which a bank holdup resulted in a fatality.
The robbery happened around 10 a.m., after the gunman apparently took a taxi to the branch on South Virginia Street, Reno police Lt. William Rulla told The Associated Press.
The robber fled but was followed by bystanders to a bus stop at Meadowood Mall across the street. Police arrested Van McDuffie, 66, a short time later without incident. He faces a charge of bank robbery with the use of a dangerous weapon causing death, police said in a statement.
Authorities recovered some cash, Rulla said. No further details of what happened inside the bank were released.
Bridget Pappas, an FBI spokeswoman in Las Vegas, said the FBI was investigating along with Reno police and the U.S. attorney’s office.
“More information will be provided if and when the situation dictates,” the FBI’s brief statement said.
Authorities were still interviewing witnesses, Rulla said, several of whom were “quite traumatized.”
Rulla said the victim was a male patron of the bank. His name was being withheld until relatives could be notified. No other bank patrons or employees were injured, police said.
A total of 5,014 robberies occurred at banks, credit unions, and savings and loans nationwide in 2011, according to the latest detailed data available at the FBI’s website. In all of those cases, two law enforcement officer and one security guard were killed, but no customers.