Trooper, robbery suspect both hurt in shootout

NEW MELLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper and a man suspected of robbing a bank were both wounded Friday during a shootout near the St. Charles County town of New Melle, but authorities say the trooper’s bulletproof vest may have saved his life.

Both men are expected to recover. Their names have not been released.

The incident began when the First Bank of Dutzow was robbed Friday morning. The suspect drove away on Highway 94.

The 26-year-old trooper stopped the car, and the shootout began. The 64-year-old suspect was taken into custody.

Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/15ICGLp ) that the bullet did not penetrate the trooper’s vest. The suspect was struck in the legs.

The trooper was shot “square in the chest, but the bullet did not break the vest he was wearing,” Nothum said. “He should be fine, maybe a little bruising.”

Authorities said the robber walked into the bank and pulled out a handgun. Warren County Sheriff Kevin T. Harrison said the man told the tellers not to put dye packs in the cash, forcing the employees to fan the bills at the counter to make sure.

The suspect then ordered the tellers to go to the bank vault and bring him $100 and $50 bills. He put the money into a duffel bag and ran out of the bank.

“He said if anybody did anything, he would kill everyone in the bank,” Harrison said.

A customer’s wife was waiting in a car outside, saw the robbery and called for help.

“She got out of the car and was looking in the bank window,” Harrison said. “She calls 911 and gives them a play-by-play, going on as she watches through the window.”

Her description of the getaway car and information from another motorist helped authorities track down the suspect.

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