WASHINGTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania bank robber fatally shot a supermarket customer who ran after him and tried to stop his getaway car, police said.
South Strabane Township police identified the dead man as Vincent Kelley, 46, of Washington, Pa.
Kelley and his friend Jared Cameron, 21, were shopping at the Giant Eagle in Strabane Square when police said the man robbed an in-store Citizens Bank branch about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I saw him with his umbrella open, and it looked suspicious. It caught my eye,” Cameron said of the robber. “I just kind of ignored it for a minute and then I heard a scream from the bank.”
The robber, dressed in black and disguised by a mask and a large, light-colored floppy hat, jumped back over the bank counter with a duffel bag full of money over his shoulder and Kelley gave chase, Cameron said.
“The guy pulled the gun on Vinnie right outside the store, and Vinnie didn’t stop. He just kept going and I followed right behind him,” Cameron said. The robber started driving away while Kelley jumped into the car and grabbed for a knife he kept on his belt.
“When he reached for his belt, the guy reached up behind his head over the seat and shot off six rounds out of his gun,” Cameron said.
Kelley fell out of the car as the suspect drove away — though police believe the white compact car should be easy to identify because a red dye pack hidden in the money exploded.
“I certainly applaud a citizen’s efforts to help society, but you see the ramifications,” police Chief Donald Zofchak said. “It cost him his life.”
Kelley’s 19-year-old daughter, Sierra, said she has planned to have a Father’s Day meal with him later that day.
“He’s a hero for what he did today. I don’t know what happened, but this is Father’s Day and he’s supposed to be with me,” Sierra Kelley told reporters. “I want whoever did this to know how much it hurts.”
Police released a photo from the bank’s surveillance camera, hoping the robber’s get-up might help the public recognize him, but the suspect’s face cannot be seen in it. Police were reviewing the surveillance video for additional clues and said they may release it Tuesday.