It's the stuff of movie scripts and almost never happens in real life.
But tragically, it did happen in Reno Wednesday morning, as a robber shot a customer at a Bank of America branch on South Virginia, before fleeing and being captured a short distance away at Meadowood Mall.
On average in recent years we've seen about a dozen bank robberies each year in Reno.
So far this year we've seen 13. That's up from just five last year, but as many as six of those were attributed to one serial bank robber--a woman. A suspect was arrested in August.
Typically those robberies involve only the threat of a weapon. A note is passed, but no gun is shown.
Sometimes it escalates to the display of a weapon, but never in recent memory to shots fired inside the bank.
This reporter has covered a number of bank robberies in more than four decades of reporting in this community. As a Secret Witness official I've also paid a number of rewards solving robberies during those years, but today I couldn't recall anything like this. Neither could a pair of veteran cops, one with 25 years experience locally, I talked with.
Banks have policies designed to keep everyone safe, get the robber out of the bank and rely on security camera evidence and police response to bring things to a safe conclusion.
That approach works. Usually these crimes are solved quickly and without any violence.
in fact, that's true all over the country. In recent months I could find only one instance of a fatal shooting following a bank robbery which didn't involve a police officer in pursuit or the suspect themselves. In Pittsburgh this July a private citizen was shot and killed when he tried to follow a bank robber.
So, it almost never happens.
But tragically today in Reno, it did.