Gunman escapes after Centralia credit union shooting


by and Associated Press

Posted on January 25, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 25 at 6:20 PM

CENTRALIA, Wash. - When a teller showed up to work at Twin Star Credit Union on Monday morning, she found a man with a gun waiting inside for her.

For most of the morning, the SWAT team thought they had their man surrounded.

But after using so-called flash bang grenades and storming the bank, they realized the attempted bank robber was gone. He crawled out the window he may have used to get into the bank.

Neighbors heard police racing to the credit union around 6:45 a.m.

A female teller called 911 to report a suspicious man inside the bank.

When police arrived, they found another teller in trouble.

"She is in the doorway, but part of her arm is not visible. As he approaches, she mouths to the officer, 'He's got a gun," said Chief Bob Berg, Centralia Police Department.

Centralia's chief says after the officer dragged the woman outside he saw a man with a gun and a knife inside the bank.

The officer apparently fired two shots and ran outside for cover.

Investigators don't think the suspect was hit. They believe he had been waiting inside the bank to rob it when the first employee arrived.

Police think the suspect cut himself on the broken window before running away.

He did not hurt anyone at the bank, but the woman who discovered him was shaken up.

"My heart goes out to the young teller. She's a single mother, she had a knife to her throat and a gun to her head and that's something nobody should have to live through," said Berg.

A Twin Star spokesperson would not go into detail about the security to explain how someone could perhaps get in through a window without triggering an alarm.