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Friday, July 1, 2016

Bank robbery ends with deadly shootout

Friday, February 25, 2005

Newbern police investigator Greg Barr fired a shot through the window of his vehicle at the bank robber, who had stepped out of his pickup and wounded Dyersburg police officer David Fisher.
A bank robber who hit the Security Bank of Newbern Wednesday afternoon was killed and a Dyersburg police officer wounded after a high-speed car chase ended with a gun battle near the community of Lenox.

According to Dyersburg Police Chief Bobby Williamson, the gunman has been identified as Ronald Wade, 51, apparently a Kentucky resident wanted for another bank robbery in Louisville.

The wounded officer is David Fisher, a 17-year veteran of DPD. He was treated for his injuries at the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center and will be released from the hospital on Thursday, Williamson said.

The white pickup and DPD police car at the crime scene near Lenox.
Newbern Police Chief Harold Dunivant told the State Gazette that Wade entered the Security Bank building shortly before 3 p.m. brandishing a handgun and leaving a package he claimed was a remote-controlled explosive device. The robber grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot toward a side street where a late-model, white Chevrolet pickup was parked.

Three Newbern police officers arrived on the scene within a matter of minutes in response to a silent alarm triggered by bank employees and were given a general description of Wade and the truck. The building was immediately evacuated, Dunivant said, and officers were told to be on the lookout for a white pickup.

Two Newbern investigators, Greg Barr and Jeff Box, were returning from Dyersburg on Highway 211 when they spotted a truck matching that description. The officers attempted to pull the truck over to verify the driver's identity but the vehicle sped away, which precipitated a high-speed chase involving numerous law enforcement vehicles from the NPD, DPD and the Dyer County Sheriff's Department.

Security Bank in Newbern.
The white pickup turned onto I-155 heading toward the Mississippi River bridge and was intercepted by Fisher who was on patrol in Dyersburg at the time of the radio alert. Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Holt was one of the officers who joined the pursuit.

Holt speculated that the suspect realized he could not escape Fisher, pulled off the highway at the Lenox exit, turned north and slammed on his brakes just a few feet from the off ramp. Apparently, Wade then leaped out of his truck and opened fire on Fisher in his police vehicle with what appeared to be a 9mm automatic pistol.

Chief Williamson reported his officer was hit in the right side by a bullet but believed the shell may have been deflected by a rib. It lodged in Fisher's right breast and did not enter the chest cavity. Another bullet grazed Fisher's right side.

According to Sheriff Holt's account of the next few seconds, which he pieced together from unofficial exchanges with officers on the scene, the two Newbern investigators, Barr and Box, were close behind Fisher during the pursuit. Seeing the DPD officer under fire, they swerved their vehicle to the far right side of the road and Barr quickly fired a shot at the gunman through the windshield. This caused Wade to turn his pistol on them.

The wounded Fisher tumbled onto the pavement where he fired at Wade from beneath the open car door. Likewise Barr and Box leapt from their vehicle and shot at the gunman.

Williamson believed that Wade may have been hit in the chest "four or five times." He died at the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center approximately an hour after the exchange of gunfire as a result of his injuries.

The money from the bank robbery was found in the seat of Wade's pickup.

TBI and FBI agents quickly arrived in both Newbern and Lenox to begin an investigation of the incident. A tactical bomb squad from Jackson entered the bank building around 5:30 p.m. and brought out the device Wade had told bank employees was an explosive device. Williamson said it appeared to be a mock bomb. However, Williamson said other materials were discovered in Wade's truck suspected to be explosive in nature, and the bomb squad was dispatched to the Lenox exit.

No information concerning the nature of this material has been made known.

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