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What We Know About Friday’s Bank Robbery, Police Shooting in East Arlington

A roundup of what’s been reported and the questions that remain.

Arlington police at the scene on Brooks Avenue Friday. Photo credit: John Waller
Arlington police at the scene on Brooks Avenue Friday. Photo credit: John Waller

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What Happened: At 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, Arlington police officers responded to the Leader Bank at 141 Mass. Ave. in East Arlington for a report of a bank robbery. Once officers were on scene, the two male suspects had already fled. However, witnesses were able to give officers a detailed description of the suspects’ vehicle, a gray Jeep, and units began searching the area. No one was injured at the bank.

Soon after, before 3 p.m., two Arlington officers engaged the suspects’ vehicle in a short pursuit, which ended when the suspects stopped on Brooks Avenue, at Melrose Street.

The two officers then approached the vehicle and one of the suspects “brandished a firearm in their direction,” according to an Arlington Police Department release. One of the officers immediately drew his service weapon and fired at that suspect, striking him.

Both suspects were taken into custody.

Kids were playing at the nearby Hardy Elementary School playground, which is about three blocks away, when the gunfire erupted. They were immediately taken inside the school by their parents.

Our initial reports >> 

The Suspects: The suspect who was shot is James P. Riley, 36, of Quincy. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and was in serious condition shortly after the incident.

The other suspect is 25-year-old Shawn T. Bambushew, of Everett. He was taken to Arlington’s Community Safety Building after the incident. He has a previous bank robbery on his record, according to WBZ.

Both men have been charged with bank robbery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon, to wit, brandishing a firearm at police. The incident remains under investigation, and additional charges may follow, according to police.

Bambushew is scheduled to be arraigned in Cambridge District Court Tuesday, according to the Boston Globe. An arraignment date for Riley has not been set.

The Officers: Police have not yet identified the two Arlington officers who approached the vehicle. The officer who shot the suspect is a five-year veteran on the force, according to Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan. He was taken to Winchester Hospital after the incident to be evaluated, but he was not injured, Ryan said.

Evidence: A black handgun and U.S. currency could be seen in plain view inside the suspects’ vehicle, according to Ryan. He said the vehicle was towed to the Arlington police station and police will search it once a search warrant or consent to search is obtained.

Ongoing Investigation: Arlington police are investigating the bank robbery, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is taking on the police-involved shooting, Ryan said.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to call Arlington police at 781-643-1212.

Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan’s Friday Statement: “Arlington Police Officers bravely chased down these armed suspects, and as one of the suspects brandished a firearm in their direction, those officers were put in fear for their lives. I am proud of our officers for making the difficult decision that no police officer ever hopes to be faced with.

 “I also want to thank the public for providing police with excellent descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle. Who knows what may have happened if these armed felons had not been stopped by police today.”

What We Don’t Know Yet: In addition to the officers’ names, the specifics of the shooting have not been released yet – how many shots were fired, how many times Riley was struck and whether or not Riley fired as well.

Police are also investigating whether Riley and Bambushew are responsible for any other recent bank robberies in the area.

robbinsfarm January 18, 2014 at 06:26 PM
mapquest shows no way out !!! must have been an different Reilly, if ya know what i mean ?
Old Lady January 19, 2014 at 07:34 AM
No what do you mean?
Noneya January 19, 2014 at 08:04 AM
I'd like to know if the weapon was used in the robbery. The previous robbery the passenger was involved in only a note was brandished not a gun. Seems like a lot of the details you usually hear about in a bank robbery aren't being reported. Was the passenger the actual robber again? Did he use a mask. That was his error the first time he allegedly robbed a bank. Almost seems like he would have gotten away with the first attempt had he work a disguise. Obviously I'm very knowledgable about criminology from my extensive studying of television crime dramas. The timeline also seems strange. If the robbery took place at 2:00 did the flee the scene or drive casually to brooks ave to lay low? There could not have been an hour between the robbery and shooting and still only have one police car at the shooting. Regardless of the details I'm glad they got two felons off the street. I would just like to know the full story.
Zoltan January 19, 2014 at 08:48 AM
Arlington is what bank robbers consider a target rich environment. If security remains so lax at area banks then the hold-ups will persist. The FDIC mandates that banks must comply with demands of bank robbers so that they flee the premises ASAP. As such, bank guards and bullet proof glass have been been eliminated. The aftermath to the community of collision with cruisers and stray bullets striking homes needs to weighed against what are usually unarmed robberies. The reason that we seldom hear about Jewelry or Liquor Store hiests is because criminals realize that they are likely to encounter potentially lethal resistance.
marc maquez January 19, 2014 at 05:28 PM
zoltan do you really believe the kahkah that comes out of your mouth like your some sort of expert your 2 cents amounts to a stain on the end of toilet paper after a number 2
jennifer riley woods January 24, 2014 at 01:52 PM
The gun was a you gun and they never shot it
JKP January 24, 2014 at 03:35 PM
What evidence do you have Jennifer?
jennifer riley woods January 24, 2014 at 10:22 PM
That's why you don't hear about it at all cause it's fake i don't need to tell you what evidence i have i just know it was fake
JKP January 25, 2014 at 04:46 AM
Ok so you have evidence but you won't share. Makes sense. Toy gun or not they pull a gun then they deserve to get shot
jennifer riley woods January 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM
I know more than you i know the family i know the lawyer i know whats going on and you don't.your guessing what happen and i know what happen.enough said
JKP January 25, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Toy gun or not if it's shown to the cops he deserved to get shot.
robbinsfarm January 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Hey the cops " didn't" have a toy gun !!!
JKP January 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Didn't one of these robbers allegedly rob another bank too?

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