Bulletproof vest saves Mo. trooper in shootout

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper was bruised but OK after a bullet lodged in his bulletproof vest during a shootout with a bank robbery suspect.

Warren Gladders, 64, of Wentzville, is accused of robbing a bank in the small eastern Missouri town of Dutzow on Friday morning, then shooting the trooper while trying to make his getaway.

Gladders was charged Saturday with first-degree assault against a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, robbery in the first degree and possession of an illegal firearm — a sawed-off shotgun. Bail has been set at $500,000.

Gladders walked into the First Bank of Dutzow, pulled out a handgun and demanded cash, Warren County Sheriff Kevin T. Harrison said. Gladders told tellers not to put dye packs in the cash and forced employees to fan the bills at the counter to make sure.

He then ordered the tellers to go to the bank vault and bring him $100 and $50 bills, the sheriff said, which he put into a duffel bag before running out of the bank.

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

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

Her description of the getaway car and information from another motorist helped authorities spot Gladders, police said.

Gladders took off on Missouri 94 and was pulled over by the 26-year-old trooper near New Melle in St. Charles County, police said. He shot at the trooper, who returned fire and struck him in both legs, authorities said.

The unidentified trooper was treated for chest bruises from a bullet that hit his vest.

“He should be fine, maybe a little bruising,” Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum said of the trooper.

A man who answered the door at Gladders’ home Saturday referred all questions to attorney Brad Kessler, who said Gladders remained in the hospital Saturday.

Other than traffic offenses, Gladders had no criminal record.

According to legal websites, he received a law degree from Washington University.

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