IRVINE, Calif.–A robber suspected of being the “Gen X Bandit,” who robbed two banks in Irvine, was shot to death by San Francisco police when he allegedly tried to run over an officer, authorities said today.
The dead man was identified as Joshua Smith, 25, a coroner’s spokesman in San Francisco said.
FBI agents notified San Francisco police that a bank robber from Irvine stole a BMW in the Los Angeles area on May 17 and was in San Francisco on Tuesday, San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield told City News Service.
Police were able to track the BMW via a GPS installed in it and, when police moved into make an arrest, the suspect tried to flee and run down an officer.
Coroner’s spokesman Richard Vetterli said it was unclear where Smith was from.
San Francisco police were watching banks and the BMW in the hours before Smith was shot, Dangerfield said. Most of the officers assigned to the detail had gone home by the time Smith got into the car, he said.
Officers on foot tried to arrest the Smith, but he drove toward them and was shot to death about 5:40 p.m., Dangerfield said.
“He was clearly coming at the officers,” he said. “He could have gone in the other direction.”
Smith was declared dead at a hospital at 6:10 p.m., Dangerfield said.
The “Gen X Bandit” was wanted for back-to-back holdups about 20 minutes apart May 17 in Irvine, FBI Special Agent Chris Gicking said.
He robbed a Chase Bank branch at 6875 Quail Hill Parkway in the morning, then held up the Comerica branch at 6540 Irvine Center Drive, Gicking said.
The robber led sheriff’s deputies on at least two high-speed chases that prompted sheriff’s deputies to back off because of danger to the public, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.
After the May 17 holdups, a deputy in Lake Forest spotted a newer model, silver BMW at a filling station at El Toro Road and Trabuco roads that investigators now believe was the getaway car, Amormino said.
When the deputy pulled over to check out the driver, the BMW sped away at speeds up to 110 mph before the deputy abandoned the chase, Amormino said.
Deputies spotted a similar car the next night at a Starbucks in Aliso Viejo, leading to a second pursuit that deputies canceled because of high speeds, Amormino said. Sightings and chases of the same vehicle, or a similar one, also occurred in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Hills, he said.