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Cops, Customer Wounded in Robbery

January 16, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A suspected bank robber was killed and two police officers and a customer were wounded in a shootout during an attempted robbery in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The suspect was shot in the head Friday after the gun battle with pursuing officers, said police spokesman Sherman Ackerson.

Officers Dennis O’Mahoney, who was shot in the upper left leg and ankle, and Mark Cota, who was shot in the knee, were hospitalized in fair condition. The customer was in critical condition following surgery with gunshot wounds to the eye and head.

Two suspects, one armed with a gun, came into a Bank of America branch during the evening rush hour and ordered everyone onto the floor.

``This is your classic takeover style robbery,″ Ackerson said.

Witness Michael Howatt said the gunman was at a teller’s window when the customer leapt on him and they fell to the floor. Two shots were fired, and the robber got up and went back to the teller’s window.

An employee managed to hit the alarm, Ackerson said.

Bike messenger Jason Hopson said he saw a suspect briskly walking away from the bank, taking off his mask. When the man turned a corner, ``there was an eruption of gunfire″ with officers.

``It was chaos,″ he said. ``Dozens of people were running.″

Nick Queja, who works at a nearby parking garage, said the suspect, an Oakland man, crouched by a car and fired at the officers until he was shot and killed.

Police were still searching Friday night for the second suspect.

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