Bank robbery leads to chase, shootout in Manatee County

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- An alleged bank robber is dead and a deputy is recovering from a bullet wound after a midday shootout with police. The bank robbery took place off University Parkway in Manatee County and ended in a hail of bullets after a pursuit.

Crime scene investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff's office are busy processing the scene of the shootout, which took place in the middle of 33rd Street East in Bradenton. The shootout was the end result of a vehicle pursuit after a bank robbery.

"At about 11:25 this morning, there was a bank down off University Parkway that was robbed at gunpoint," said Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube.

A Manatee County Officer noticed a truck matching the description of the getaway vehicle, which was a white dually pickup headed north on U.S. 301.

"He tried to do a traffic stop on the pickup and shortly there after there was a pursuit," Stube says.

The truck headed into downtown Bradenton before doing a u-turn and driving back south.

"Two places along the way, deputies were able to throw stop sticks and the truck ran over the stop sticks at both locations," Steube says.

"I heard him go by and he was trying to drive with a flat tire," says witness Devon Reed.

The truck finally slowed and stopped in the middle of 33rd Street East.

"There was a verbal confrontation of one of our deputies to the suspect,” Steube says, “and shortly after the suspect leaned out of the car and fired a shot at one of our deputies."

Devon Reed lives around the corner and heard the shooting.

"It sounded like fireworks -- ba-boom, boom, boom. I mean it was really, really loud. I mean they were just unloading," Reed says.

The suspect is dead and 52 year-old Lt. Bob Mealy was hit in the forearm.

"I have since received information from the hospital that it was a through and through round,” Steube later told reporters. “It didn’t strike anything important, so we are thankful that he should make a 100 percent recovery."

Frank Giordano lives on 33rd Street East and was close enough to smell the gunpowder from the shooting.

"I look at it this way. This is the way our world is now. It is going down the tubes,” he says. “It is very scary when it happens this close to your home."