Attempted murder charges in bank heist, chase

March 13, 2009 5:43:43 PM PDT
Four men arrested after a bank robbery and pursuit that ended in a shootout with police in central New Jersey are charged with attempted murder. Three of the suspects - James Phillips Jr., 58, of Newark, Sammie Dobson, 52, of Jersey City and 54-year-old James Holmes, no known address - were wounded during Thursday night's shootout and remain hospitalized. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, but details on their condition were not available late Friday afternoon.

The fourth suspect, 43-year-old Anthony Peterson of Newark, was not wounded and was being held Friday at the Middlesex County jail. Bail had not yet been set for any defendant, and it was not known when bail hearings would be held.

Each man faces attempted murder, eluding police and weapons charges in Middlesex County, and they're also expected to faces charges in Somerset County, where the bank robbery occurred.

Authorities say the suspects fired multiple shots at six police officers - five from New Brunswick and one from North Brunswick - who were attempting to apprehend them. No officers or bystanders were hit by the shots, and no other injuries were reported.

The holdup at a Bank of America branch on Route 27 in Franklin Township occurred just before 6 p.m. Thursday, and authorities say the four men drove off in a Ford Windstar van. Franklin Township and North Brunswick police soon began pursuing the vehicle, and the suspects eventually headed into New Brunswick, and officers there also became involved in the chase.

New Brunswick officers followed the van to an area near Saint Peter's University Hospital, where it crashed into a security gate. The men got out of the van, and authorities say one or more of them began firing at the officers, who returned the gunfire.

The men then ran to a nearby street, where they were soon apprehended by the officers. Police recovered four weapons at the scene, including handguns and a semiautomatic weapon.


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