Slain Manatee bank robbery suspect also robbed 2 stores in Sarasota

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 18, 2014 


MANATEE -- The bank robbery suspect who turned a gun on himself after a shoot-out Monday with Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies, had earlier robbed a gas station and a convenience store in Sarasota, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

The three robberies occurred in a span of roughly 12 hours.

"The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the suspect in two armed robberies earlier this week was the man who died following a bank robbery and shootout with deputies in Manatee County," the Sarasota sheriff's office said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

Using surveillance video and evidence found at the

scene of his death, investigators confirmed Ross Chrisman was responsible for the armed robbery of the Shell Gas Station at 2800 Bee Ridge Road at 11 p.m. Sunday and the Stop 'N Shop at 4201 S. Tamiami Trail at 7:20 a.m. Monday, according to the release.

Manatee County investigators said they believe Chrisman then robbed the Florida Bank branch off University Parkway in southern Manatee County.

Following the bank robbery, sheriff's Lt. Bob Mealy spotted a pick-up truck matching the description witnesses gave and began chasing it. Mealy made two failed attempts to stop the truck.

When the truck reached 33rd Street East north of State Road 70, Chrisman himself stopped the truck. When deputies began to approach, however, Chrisman opened fire. Mealy was struck in the arm.

Deputies exchanged fire with Chrisman until he ultimately shot himself, according to autopsy results released Thursday by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

"They confirmed there were no other bullets," Manatee County spokesman Dave Bristow said.

Initially, investigators were unsure if he had been killed by deputy fire.

Results from a necropsy of a dog found in Chrisman's truck after the shootout found the animal was killed by gunfire from deputies.

"Initially it looked like the dog was shot by (Chrisman)," Bristow said. "But after the test was done, the necropsy, it was determined that it was the shots we fired."

Mealy continues to recover from his injuries, the sheriff's office said.

Four deputies remain on paid administrative leave as a sheriff's office internal investigation of the shooting is conducted. With no wrongdoing expected to be found, the sheriff's office expects to wrap up the investigation next week.

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