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.
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.