Crime

2 Officers Shot In Pursuit Of Bank Robbers In Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Law enforcement officials surrounded a wooded area Tuesday in northeastern Iowa, where bank robbery suspects were believed to be hiding after shooting and injuring two officers during a high-speed chase.

Police set up a perimeter around a two-mile radius of a wooded area by a rock quarry near Frederika, a tiny town about 30 miles north of Waterloo, and were waiting for the two to emerge, said Iowa Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jessica Lown.

A SWAT team and officers from several agencies were at the site, and the state patrol was using airplanes to track the suspects’ movement, said Sgt. Scott Bright, a spokesman for the Iowa State Patrol. Police asked local residents to stay in their homes and not to leave their keys in their vehicles.

“Basically, we have them surrounded,” Bright said. “Either the suspects will come out or law enforcement will have to take action to apprehend the suspects.”

The police action came after violence that shook a normally sleepy part of rural Iowa.

First, two suspects robbed the Maynard Savings Bank in Maynard, a town of 520 people, shortly before noon, Lown said. No one was injured during the robbery.

The suspects fled in a car, and police were soon in pursuit. The chase ended about an hour later 30 miles northwest of Maynard near Frederika, Lown said.

She said the suspects jumped out of the car at the quarry and fled on foot into woods. The officers were shot by “the suspects that they were pursuing,” but it’s not clear when that happened, Lown said. She said investigators would piece it together after the suspects were in custody.

Bright said a state trooper was shot in the upper right arm. The injury is not considered life-threatening, Bright said, and the trooper was expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Sumner Police Chief Dennis Cain was also shot and injured, Lown said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Chief Cain and his family. That’s all I can tell you,” said Sumner Mayor Gary Walke.

Jim Waterbury, a spokesman for Allen Hospital in Waterloo, said that one man was airlifted to the hospital after the pursuit and was undergoing surgery.

“I anticipate that he will be in surgery for some time,” Waterbury, adding that he could not release the person’s name or condition.

Dena Gray-Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said DOT commercial motor vehicle enforcement officers joined the pursuit and one of their vehicles was shot. She said none of the DOT officers was injured.

Gray-Fisher said the agency has closed U.S. Highway 63 south of Frederika to U.S. 18, about three miles north of the town. Area schools were also placed on lockdown Tuesday during the pursuit.

Bright said investigators did not know the identity of the suspects. He said the name of the injured trooper was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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