A police officer and a suspected bank robber were killed and another officer wounded shortly before noon today during a holdup of the Bank of America in downtown Redwood City.
Authorities said a second suspect escaped in late-model, blue Pontiac Trans Am. He was described as a white male with long blond hair.
Roadblocks were set up through San Mateo County, and a California Highway Patrol helicopter was being used in the search for the second suspect.
The dead officer was identified as Sgt. George Garrett, 38, head of the department’s narcotics detail. Shot in the right arm and left hand was detective Robert Peele, 28. He was undergoing surgery at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, police said. His condition was reported as good.
Police Chief George Bold said four officers were dispatched to the bank at 110 California Ave. at about 11:55 a.m. in answer to a silent alarm.
Bank spokesperson Sharon Woodson said “A suspect went up to the manager and threatened him with a bomb. At that point, the manager alerted an employee to hit the silent alarm.”
She said police responded to the bank, which was crowded with customers, within three minutes. It was not clear whether the robber actually was carrying a bomb.
Bold said Garrett approached the manager’s desk and identified himself as a policeman. Shots rang out. Garrett was shot in the head and chest. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Sequoia Hospital.
Bold said Detective Dale Switzer returned the fire, killing the man who had shot Garrett. The slain suspect was not immediately identified.
Dan Hurly, 21, of Belmont, one of the customers inside the crowded bank, said he was in line when police came in and “yelled something.”
Hurly said everyone dropped to the floor and a scuffle ensued behind the teller’s cage. He said a desk was knocked over and someone came flying over the barrier.
Hurly said he heard three quick shots followed by three or four more. Police said no money was taken from the bank.