In an extremely odd series of events, two bank robbers were shot and killed after holding up a Ravenna, MI bank. What’s odd about it? For starters, the FBI called Muskegon County dispatch a little over 15 minutes prior to the actual robbery, telling them that the suspects might be robbing one of their banks and to keep an eye out, and to call the FBI in the event of a robbery. Wait, what?
It’s hard to follow along with, but here’s what went down. FBI Resident Agent in Charge John King based in Grand Rapids, MI placed a call to the dispatch center at 10:20 am on October 13th. He introduced himself, and said, “We are right now tracking a couple of individuals up in the Muskegon County area around Ravenna.
And so, if there happens to be a bank robbery come out, can you make sure we end up getting a phone call?” Yes, that quote is taken from the actual phone call to dispatch. The dispatcher asked King for a vehicle description, for obvious reasons. They could not say for certain, but the FBI believed the suspects, Derryl LaFave and Kristopher Cheyne, were driving around in a black Blazer that they had stolen the day prior.
Upon reviewing the tapes, it is evident the FBI knew that the suspects were in the area with great certainty. “We’ve got a couple individuals we’ve been tracking that we think are responsible for a couple other bank robberies down south and they’ve been putzing around in Ravenna the last couple of days,” King said to the dispatcher. Even with this information, the FBI could offer no help in determining which bank would be the suspects’ target.
How, exactly, did the FBI even know they were there? Pat Harig, FBI Task Force member, explains to dispatch, “Without putting this on the air, we have GPS on the vehicle and on a phone. We do not need that on the air.”
The robbers made their move, robbing ChoiceOne bank at 10:36, a mere 16 minutes after the call to dispatch, with FBI agents on their tail – not literally, however. The agent was actually ahead of the robbers, who had ditched the Blazer for a blue Oldsmobile Bravada. The suspects headed south with agents ahead of them, and in Ottawa County, their luck ran out. Agents caught up to them and the suspects began shooting at officers, continuing to drive, and running over local police officer Trevor Slot. It was at this point officers shot and killed the suspects.
Of course, none of this information came out right away. When suspects and officers are killed, there is always a lengthy investigation. However, knowing that both the Michigan police officers and the FBI agents all had the common goal of keeping the residents safe, one would think that the FBI could have been a little more forthcoming with information that could have helped put an end to this situation before it escalated to the level it did. Maybe if they had worked together from the start, the deaths could all have been avoided and the suspects would be facing a judge for their many crimes.
Photo by Carsten Lorentzen through Flickr Creative Commons