Police shoot suspect after bank robbery in Arlington

ARLINGTON — Police shot a gun-wielding robbery suspect and arrested his accomplice after the pair allegedly robbed a bank here on Friday afternoon, touching off a violent confrontation that left a quiet neighborhood shaken.

Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan said in a phone interview that the men, identified as James P. Riley, 36, of Quincy, and Shawn T. Bambushew, 25, of Everett, allegedly robbed Leader Bank at 141 Massachusetts Ave. at about 2:40 p.m.

Witnesses provided police with a description of the suspects’ getaway car, and police stopped the gray-colored Jeep nearby on Brooks Avenue. Riley then brandished a gun, prompting an Arlington officer to shoot him in the car because he feared for his safety, according to Ryan.


“These are two violent felons,’’ he said of the suspects. “These officers acted bravely. … These are difficult situations for police officers, and they’re making split-second decisions.’’

Police did not say how many times Riley was shot, or where. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment for serious injuries, police said in a statement.

Riley’s condition could not be determined on Friday night. A hospital spokeswoman said he was not listed in the patient directory that is publicly available.

The officer who shot Riley was not hurt, but the five-year veteran of the force was taken to an area hospital for treatment for stress, according to Ryan.

Bambushew was captured and not injured. He and Riley are facing charges of bank robbery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon, to wit, brandishing a firearm at police, officials said. Bambushew will be arraigned on Tuesday in Cambridge District Court. An arraignment date for Riley has not been set.

“The matter remains under investigation, and additional charges may be forthcoming,’’ police said. Ryan said officers recovered at least one firearm from the suspects’ vehicle, as well as money from the bank.

State and Arlington police were still investigating at the shooting scene on Friday evening. Investigators shined flashlights on an Arlington police cruiser and also on the ground near the scene.


A mother and her adult son, who live nearby and would only identify themselves as Pat and Mike, respectively, stood near the crime scene tape and said they were shaken by the news.

“It’s just very disturbing,’’ Pat said. “It’s a quiet neighborhood, very family-oriented.’’

Mike said the shooting was surprising.

“Not normal for Arlington,’’ he said. “Kind of weird.’’

A sign on the front door of the bank up the road, which workers apparently put up after the robbery, remained in place on Friday at about 6 p.m. The sign said the bank was temporarily closed and apologized for the inconvenience.

Kristi Hayes, 26, a clerk at Giles Wine & Spirits, which is located next door, said she was not working at the time of the robbery but expressed concern about the incident.

“It’s definitely not safe,’’ Hayes said. “It’s not something you want to be in the middle of, that’s for sure.’’

In the statement from Arlington police, Ryan reiterated that his officers acted heroically during the pursuit of Riley and Bambushew.

“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,’’ Ryan said. “I am proud of our officers for making the difficult decision that no police officer ever hopes to be faced with.’’

He also commended members of the public who assisted investigators.

“I also want to thank the public for providing police with excellent descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle,’’ Ryan said.

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