Mich. Officer Run Over, Killed Chasing Suspected Bank Robbers

Updated at 3:50 p.m. PDT

DETROIT (AP) — Two suspected bank robbers may have intentionally driven a sport utility vehicle into a western Michigan police officer Thursday while leading others on a high-speed chase that ended in a shootout and their deaths, authorities said.

Walker court officer Trevor Slot was laying stop sticks Thursday along a roadway in Crockery Township to deflate the tires of the SUV when he was struck and killed, state police Lt. David Roesler said during an afternoon press briefing.

Officers involved in the chase "believe the suspects intentionally aimed their vehicle at the officer and ran him over," Roesler said. After striking the 41-year-old Slot, the men lost control of the SUV and crashed on a freeway ramp with police units in pursuit.

"The suspects exited the vehicle with long guns and opened fire on the officers," Roesler said.

Both men were shot to death and died at the scene, about 15 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. Police recovered a shotgun and M-4 rifle.

The men, whose names were not released, are believed to have staged a brazen morning holdup of a Choice One bank branch 10 miles north of Crockery Township in Ravenna.

Some bank employees were forced into an office while others were told to open the branch's vault, Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said.

Money also was taken from teller cash drawers.

A customer walked into the bank during the robbery and also was forced into the office. Another customer who pulled up to a drive-thru window saw what was going on and called 911, Dean Roesler said.

Bank employees gave police the license number of the SUV, which soon was spotted by police who gave chase through several communities and onto eastbound Interstate 96.

"Police cars were shot at multiple times by the suspects," state police Sgt. John Tillman said. "They were fleeing at a high rate of speed, sometimes in excess of 100 mph. They made it almost to the city of Walker, turned back and started heading westbound."

It was there that Slot, a nine-year Walker veteran who normally is assigned to court duty, began laying down the stop sticks, said Catherine Garcia-Linstrom, the city's public safety director.

"It's not unusual for a court officer to assist in a number of other things," Garcia-Linstrom said. "He jumped right in to help. You have to go into the freeway and run those strips across the road."

Slot is survived by a wife and two children.


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