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Bank-robbery suspects, one of them shot, charged; officer identified

UPDATED, Jan. 21: Gunfire popped in a neighborhood that includes the Hardy School on Friday, Jan. 17, as police tracked two armed men who allegedly had robbed the Leader Bank branch at 141 Mass. Ave. at 2:40 p.m.

One suspect, James P. Riley, 36, of Quincy, was shot and hospitalized. The second suspect, Shawn T. Bambushew, 25, of Everett, was held held following his arraignment until Feb. 20 for a probable-cause hearing on $250,000 cash bail. If bail is posted he will be also be going on a GPS monitoring bracelet. The other will be arraigned later.

Arlington Officer Michael Foley, a decorated five-year veteran, was hospitalized. Chief Frederick Ryan identified Foley as the officer who fired his service weapon at an alleged gun-wielding bank robbery suspect.

"Officer Foley, in fear for his safety and the safety of his fellow officers, acted bravely when he faced down a dangerous felon on Friday afternoon," Ryan said in a statement. "I am proud of him, acknowledging the difficulty that goes into making such a split-second decision."

Chief Ryan said Jan. 18 that two investigations are continuing. Two days later, he added that, as per standard departmental procedure in the event of an officer-involved shooting, Foley has been placed on administrative duties while the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office investigates the shooting.

Added charges possible

Both suspects have been charged with bank robbery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon; that is, brandishing a firearm at police. The matter remains under investigation, and additional charges may be filed.

YourArlington asked Ryan Jan. 18 about the kind of gun police saw and the amount of money recovered.

He responded via email: "A black handgun was in plain view inside the suspect's car.

"The car was towed to the Arlington police station and secured until a search warrant and/or consent to search the car has been obtained. Our investigators as well as investigators from the DA's office are working on that piece of the investigation, and I have not yet received their reports.

"Also in plain view in the car was a pile of U.S. currency that we suspect came from the Leader Bank. At this point the amount of cash stolen has yet to be determined."

Ryan wrote that there are two parallel investigations ongoing. Arlington police are investigating the bank robbery, and the Middlesex DA's Office is investigating the police-involved shooting.

"These are complex and time-consuming investigations, and I appreciate your patience," he wrote.

As to Foley, Ryan wrote

As to Foley, the officer was given a letter and certificate of commendation in 2009. On Feb. 2, 2009, he was part of a team of officers who arrested an armed suspect who was reportedly threatening his neighbors with a 9mm handgun.

Last year, Foley was also credited with identifying a reckless motorcyclist who had fled from many police departments over a period of several weeks. He chased him after he was seen pulling out of a bank in Arlington.

The motorcyclist eluded chase, Ryan said, but Foley "smartly went into the bank and was able to pull the identification of the suspect from a banking transaction he had conducted inside. These actions directly let to the arrest of a 29-year-old Somerset man."

"Officials at the Leader Bank have been extremely helpful to our investigation and we are very happy that none of them were injured."

The Globe reported Jan. 18 that Bambushew was to be arraigned on Jan. 21, in Cambridge District Court, and that occurred.

Ryan told The Globe that officers recovered at least one firearm from the suspects' vehicle and money from the bank, but he did not say how much.

Chief cites bravery

"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 in a police statement. "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?"

Arlington Police are working the Office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan as well as agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call police at 781-643-1212.

Earlier reports

Citing witnesses, Channel 5 reported first that shots were fired after a bank robbery on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

WCVB reported the suspected robber jumped into a Jeep Patriot after the heist and fled the scene.

After a brief police pursuit, a man jumped out of the truck near the intersection of Melrose Street and Brooks Avenue and exchanged gunfire with police.

The suspect was shot and taken from the scene in an ambulance.

No information on his condition was immediately available.

Fox News reported that video from SkyFox showed an active police presence.

Investigators had roped off a large area with crime tape and appeared to be investigating a silver Jeep. There were a number of evidence markers on the ground in the area.

Police ordered school officials to have those at the nearby Hardy Elementary School shelter-in-place briefly during after-school activities and playing on the playground.

A neighbor of the bank told the Arlington email list that gun shots were heard. Another resident said shots were heard on Brooks Avenue.

Others reported three helicopters above the scene shortly after 3 p.m.

Leader Bank response

Sushil Tuli, president and chief executive officer of Leader Bank, issued this statement, which said in part:

"We appreciate those who have reached out to Leader Bank to express their support for the Bank and their good wishes for our employees.

"Our primary concern throughout this entire incident was the safety of our employees and customers at the branch, and we are relieved that all such employees and customers at the branch are safe. We commend those employees for their professionalism in responding to this matter."

Tuli expressed the bank’s gratitude to Chief Fred Ryan and his entire department for their rapid response to the report of the robbery, and thanked the entire task force investigating the incident for their hard work and support.


This story was published at 3:32 p.m. Friday, Jan . 17, 2014, and updated thereafter as well as Jan. 18 and 21.

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