Suspected Salisbury bank robber killed in officer-involved shooting ID'd

Jones (Salisbury Police Department)
Jones (Salisbury Police Department)
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)
(David Beaver | WBTV)
(David Beaver | WBTV)

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting after police say he reportedly robbed a Salisbury bank, shot two people and then lead police on a chase Thursday afternoon has been identified.

According to Salisbury police, officers were called to the Wells Fargo Bank on the 800-block of W. Jake Alexander Blvd around 5:04 p.m. Thursday to the report of an armed robbery in progress. During the robbery, police say a customer inside the bank was shot and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to a police report released Friday, 25-year-old Paul Jones III was identified as the alleged robber.

A man says his girlfriend was inside the bank when the shooting happened and called him immediately after.

"She sounded traumatized. Like she sounded scared and panicked," Rodolfo Trujillo said. "All she could say is that they were assaulted. Some guy tried to rob the bank and the client she was helping got shot."

Police say a person was then shot in the bank parking lot as Jones reportedly fled from the scene. A vehicle matching that description was seen speeding near Brenner Avenue, Lincolnton and S. Fulton Street, and back towards Jake Alexander Blvd. Officers spotted the vehicle and then began to chase Jones.

During the chase, Jones allegedly crashed on Jake Alexander Blvd and shots were then fired.  According to Chief Stokes, Jones either "pointed a gun at officers or fired at officers" and police returned fire. Several officers fired multiple shots, killing Jones.

None of the officers were injured in the incident.

Witness Terry Johnson was sitting at the light on his way home when the incident unfolded.

"I seen the fella come down through there with the police following behind him and he run the light and hit another car in the back, slid sideways and the Salisbury police got out and shot him," Johnson said. "I seen them duck back away from the car when they run up to it - like he was doing something or possibly shooting at them. And you heard a few light pops and then you heard about 6 or 7 pops when they shot back at him."

A juvenile was also listed on the police report as being a victim in this incident.

During a press conference Friday, the police chief said the man who was shot inside the bank was listed in critical condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The victim who was shot in the parking lot was listed in stable condition, according to the police chief.

The chief said all of the officers "acted with utmost bravery and valor." When referencing the officers who were involved in the shooting, the chief said "I can not express the bravery shown." The law enforcement officials "did their duty," the police chief said.

"The supervisors working yesterday, Lieutenant Andy Efird and Sergeant Brandon Casper are to be commended for how they took control of a very active and dangerous event that spanned three scenes," Chief Stokes said.  "Lieutenant Efird maintained control and command of the pursuit and, while there were many officers surrounding the car after it stopped, the shots were controlled and not excessive given the threat. Sergeant Casper effectively directed the response and enabled the officers to locate the suspect as he fled."

"I cannot express how proud I am of the bravery and valor shown by Sergeant Colvin, Officer Basinger and Officer Martinez. They faced a clear threat from an armed person intent on doing evil and did their duty," Stokes added.  "There were several other officers right with those three providing support and they too acted bravely and with valor. While we're not identifying them right now I am just as proud of their actions yesterday.

The officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on "desk duty" during the investigation. ,

The FBI and SBI are assisting the Salisbury Police Department with the investigation of the bank robbery, officer-involved shooting and other possible crimes.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.