Suspected SoCal Bank Robber Shoots Self After Chase

A man suspected of at least a dozen bank robberies shot himself to death after a 35-mile chase and a police standoff, authorities said.

The man, believed to be about 50 years old, was pronounced dead at a hospital Friday. His name was not immediately released.

He was believed to be so-called "Armada Bandit" who was wanted for a string of holdups since May in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

The robber was nicknamed the "Armada Bandit" because he often wore a U.S. Navy hat, authorities said.

The bandit struck at around noon at a Washington Mutual branch in Anaheim and fled with a large sum of money, authorities said.

Police spotted the man's pickup truck on a freeway, leading to a chase.

During the pursuit, "he saw police and alternated putting a cell phone, then a handgun to his head," Anaheim police spokesman Sgt. Rick Martinez said. "It was clear he wasn't going to pull over."

"He apparently called family members and said he didn't want to go back to jail," Amormino said.

The chase ended at the Dana Point harbor, where the man jumped out of the truck.

During a standoff, an Anaheim police negotiator tried to get the man to surrender.

"The guy was just standing near some picnic tables and I could see about 10 cops nearby with their guns drawn," bystander Warren Willson, 17, told the Orange County Register.

After about 10 minutes, the man shot himself in the head, authorities said.

Investigators found a U.S. Navy baseball cap and cash in the truck.


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