A Brigham Young University police officer was shot Wednesday morning by a man who allegedly robbed a Provo bank.
The suspected robber opened fire on a BYU police car at the intersection of University Parkway and University Avenue. One shot glanced off the steering wheel of officer David Adams' car and hit him in the chest, said BYU Police Chief Robert Kelshaw.The bullet apparently did not penetrate his chest. Shattering glass also injured the officer.
Adams, 44, walked under his own power to an ambulance that drove him to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where he was being treated at press time.
Adams, a seven-year veteran at BYU, was responding to a a robbery at Zions Bank. As he got out of his car, a man also got out of his car and began shooting. The officer got back into his car, and that was when he was hit.
"There were cars everywhere. All I could see was the gun coming toward me," Adams told the Deseret News from the emergency room.
Adams said he dived back to his car after the shooting started in order to radio fellow officers about his location.
"I was fortunate," Adams said. "It hit and made a burn."
"The bullet did not penetrate, but his chest is red and bleeding. He has fragments of glass and steel in his left eye and a cut below his eye," hospital spokesman Anton Garrity said. Adams was listed in good condition.
Investigators said the man fired at least 10 shots from a 9mm semi-automic handgun. Officers found 10 shell casings at the scene.
The gunman, driving a gold Toyota Camry, made a U-turn at the intersection and drove east toward the Marriott Center on the BYU campus. Police searched an apartment complex parking lot near the university for the gunman but did not find him.
The shooting occurred just after a robbery at Zions Bank, 1060 N. Univeristy Ave. Minutes later, another robbery occured at nearby Wells Fargo Bank, 66 E. 1650 North. Details of the robberies were unavailable at press time.
Provo Police Chief Greg Cooper was at the Capitol testifying before a legislative committee when he was paged about the shooting.
He said in addition to the two banks, another Orem bank was robbed Wednesday morning. The robberies might be linked, but he said it's too soon to be sure.
The gunmen in one of the robberies matches the description of the two men who robbed a Taylorsville bank Tuesday morning.
An FBI agent was inside the Taylorsville bank during the robbery, which occurred about 11 a.m., but couldn't take action because doing so would have endangered customers and employees of the bank, according to a written statement released by the FBI.
One of the robbers fired a shot during the Taylorsville robbery, but no one was injured, said Salt Lake County deputy sheriff Peggy Faulkner.
Both men carried guns, and at least one was equipped with a laser sight. The men took an undisclosed amount of money and ran from the bank. The FBI agent followed them outside and saw them get into a car driven by a third man, Faulkner said.
The FBI agent got into his car and tried to follow them but couldn't catch up to the car.
That vehicle was described as a light blue, four-door sedan with California license plates. It was apparently abandoned by the robbers in Salt Lake County shortly after the robbery. Police have found a car they believe may be the getaway car but won't confirm if it's the one used in the robbery.
The vehicle described in Wednesday's Wells Fargo robbery was a bronze Nissan Maxima or Mazda vehicle with a temporary license plate in the window. The gunmen were described very similarly to Tuesday's robbers.
The descriptions are as follows: a man in his early 20s about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches and weighing between 140-160 pounds with a translucent mask and dark clothing; a man in his early to mid-20s about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet and weighing about 180 to 200 pounds with a black ski mask and dark sweats. There is no description available on the driver.
It's believed the men carried 9mm handguns.