This has been consuming my thoughts for most of the day today:
(from KMOV.com) -- Three people were shot and taken to the hospital after police exchanged gunfire with bank robbery suspects in north St. Louis.
Police received reports of a hold-up at the Pulaski Bank in the 3700 block of South Grand around 9:21 a.m. on Thursday. According to police, two suspects in construction vests entered the bank and demanded cash. Witnesses tell St. Louis police that one of the suspects fired a gunshot in the air. Witnesses also say that one of the suspects had what appeared to be a hand grenade. No one in the bank was injured.
After getting the cash, the suspects took off. Moments later, police spotted a green Dodge Dakota pick-up truck with the suspects inside and attempted to pull the vehicle over. The suspects sped away and police followed.
The suspects lead police through downtown St. Louis and into north St. Louis. As police were following the vehicle, the suspects fired multiple shots at the officers. Authorities say the officers had to swerve repeatedly to avoid the gunfire.
At the intersection of Marcus and Lexington, the suspects tried to turn and hit another vehicle. That caused a chain-reaction crash with two police vehicles involved in the pursuit. Police say the suspects then opened fire on the officers. The officers returned fire.
One of the suspects, a 57-year-old man, was shot twice in the head and once in each wrist and ankle. He was taken to a local hospital where he is listed in serious condition.
The other suspect, a 49-year-old man, was shot in the hand, buttocks and ankle. He was also grazed in the ear. He is hospitalized in fair condition.
A police officer was also grazed in the leg by a bullet. The officer 42 years old and has been on the St. Louis police force for 12 ½ years. He was taken to Barnes Hospital where he was treated and released.
Now this captivates me for quite a few reasons - First, I work in a bank. I live with the daily possibility of some douchebag(s) trying to rob the place. Consequently, I happen to have a very low opinion of anyone who would commit such an act. Second, I used to work for Pulaski Bank, and I know some of the people who were directly affected by the acts of these asswipes. In fact, the wife used to work at that very branch. Thankfully, she has moved on to a different one. Third, I happen to be a very big proponent of the right to bear arms. Of course, with that right comes great responsibility, and anyone who abuses that right at the expense of others has committed a grave transgression.
As an amateur detective, the emerging details of today's robbery reminded me of a similar robbery just over one week ago (on 3/29, to be exact). A different Pulaski Bank branch was robbed by two men wearing construction vests (Coincidence? I think not.). Courtesy of BanditTracker St. Louis, you can see these pieces of crap in action:
These pictures are from the 3/29 robbery, taken from BanditTracker St. Louis
Now that's a scary situation, because some animal has decided that he wants money, and he has no problem pointing a gun at you because you are no longer a person, but you (as a bank teller) have become just some obstacle between him and what he wants. How far of a stretch is it for him to start shooting? After the news today, apparently not far at all.
I like to consider myself a reasonable, thoughtful Christian man with a sound moral backing and a healthy respect for life, but as the story unfolded and reports came out that one suspect was shot in the head and the other shot in the hand, I said to myself, "that sucks that only one of them got shot in the head." The (alleged) robber that got shot in the head was listed in grave condition earlier today, and I honestly couldn't care if he died or not.
Why did I become so callous to other humans? That was an odd realization for me, and I had to ponder it for a little bit. I guess I have no sympathy for someone who puts his desire for money (or anything else) in front of the lives of others just living their lives. I've also been a little peeved lately with the media of St. Louis, because bank robberies have become a bit more frequent in the last few years, and it always seems like the robberies get the front page, but when the bad guys get caught (and yes, they almost always get caught), it's a tiny blurb in the back. I kind of like the message of, "hey, when you rob a bank, you could get shot in the face and die, just like this guy." It's a very compelling story to me.
Also, on a somewhat related note, check out that BanditTracker website. See if you recognize anyone. If you do, it could lead to a $1000 payout!
So there you have it - I am very thankful that only one good guy was hurt, and apparently that is a (comparatively) minor injury. I'm very glad that nobody was hurt inside of the bank. I hope everyone who had to deal with this situation can get past the trauma and whatever else psychologically damaging that has happened, and I hope (naively optimistically) nobody has to face such a situation again. Finally, if you're a bank robber, kindly get shot in the face, you worthless scum.