Law Enforcement Officers Looking for Bank Robbery Suspect - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Law Enforcement Officers Looking for Bank Robbery Suspect

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PASCO, Wash.-- An armed robbery at a bank in Pasco Wednesday morning led to SWAT team and bomb squad activity lasting hours into the afternoon.

It all happened on Clark Street and 10th in Pasco.

Police say an armed robbery took place at the Bank of the West.

The bank was surrounded by police from each of the Tri-Cities, Benton and Franklin Counties, The regional SWAT team, Richland Bomb Squad and even the FBI was there to secure the building and look for the suspect.  

Law enforcement from across the Tri-Cities packed Clark Street in front of the bank for most of the day, starting at around 9:30am.

Captain Jim Raymond, Pasco Police, said a passerby alerted officers about suspicious activity at the bank.

"Citizen that was passing by, that was getting ready to go in the bank, thought it was a robbery, called and reported it. Officers in the area immediately shut it down and got everyone evacuated out of the bank before any alarms were set off so it was actually in progress when officers arrived," Raymond said.

Steve Sorick was in the neighborhood and saw police arriving at the scene.

"Units were coming in from everywhere and they had the streets blocked off. I pulled into the parking lot at the school district and anybody that was with the school district, delivery rigs and everything were told to get out and stay away from the parking lot," Sorick said.

Police said all bank workers and customers were safely removed from the bank to the Pasco School District building across the street.

The hunt for the suspect spanned across local neighborhoods and a SWAT team searched the building.

"All the neighborhoods have been swept for him with K9s and officers searching on foot as the hours have ticked by here. So he's in the wind for lack of a better word," Raymond said.

Police describe the suspect as a 6 foot tall male, heavyset, wearing a fake beard and dark clothing.

Captain Raymond said they believe the suspect dropped everything and escaped, including leaving a backpack behind.

The Richland Bomb Squad robot retrieved the bag.

"We've confirmed there is nothing suspicious in the bag. The bag is taken care of and we have it," Raymond said.

During the incident, many surrounding schools and the Pasco School District building directly across the street from the bank were placed on lock down as a precaution.

Longfellow Elementary students who walk to school and live within the perimeter set up by Pasco Police were kept at school until police cleared the area.

Police said they don't believe the robber made off with any money.

Pasco police are investigating this case and still searching for the suspect. If you have any information give them a call.

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The Tri-City Regional SWAT Team along with FBI agents surrounded the Bank of the West in Pasco around 10 a.m.

Officers say they are looking for a male suspect, either white or Hispanic, who robbed the bank with a weapon around 9:30 a.m. They currently do not know if he is still inside the bank.

Officers have blocked off Clark St. between 10th and 12th Avenue and have evacuated the building.

The Regional Bomb Squad sent in a robot a little after 12:30pm to get a suspicious backpack. Our reporter on the scene says there were then two loud booms. Police tell us those are called flash bangs and set off before the SWAT team enters the building.

A sniper is positioned on the roof of the Pasco School District Booth Building.

The Pasco School District says Pasco police lifted the lock out around 12:15 for Pasco High School, Longfellow and Emerson elementaries, Captain Gray Early Learning Center and St. Patrick Catholic School. The district says all schools should be released at the specified times.

The Booth Building remains on lock out. Please do not attempt to enter or leave the building.

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