OLATHE, Kan. – A bank robber who took at least six people hostage and ordered them to strip down to their underwear was shot by police at an airport Wednesday during what may have been an attempt to make a getaway in a small plane, authorities said.
The 44-year-old Wichita (search) man was taken by helicopter to a hospital and was in critical condition late Wednesday, FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said. No one else was hurt.
Police and the FBI said the robber held up a bank in Olathe, about 25 miles from Kansas City (search). He held hostages in the bank for about 30 minutes, before loading four women and two men into a minivan owned by one of the hostages, a teller at the bank.
The teller was then forced to drive to the Johnson County Executive Airport (search), about two miles away, and pull up next to a plane on the runway, authorities said. Lanza said the suspect then jumped out of the minivan and ran toward the plane, where he was shot by police.
"Certainly it was a very scary scenario for all of them in that van," Lanza said in a televised interview.
Investigators questioned a flight instructor and student who were onboard the plane and determined they were not involved in the robbery, Lanza said. The airplane was taxiing when the minivan pulled in front of it, forcing it to stop, he said.
Pilot Matt Miller told KMBZ-TV that he and his student were doing a final check on the plane when he looked up and saw a man next to the cabin door.
"I heard the police yell, 'Drop your weapon,' and I heard the shots fired," Miller said. "I ducked underneath the instrument panel.
Authorities said the suspect had a pilot's license, but they did not know if he was trying to get on the plane. Lanza said money was recovered from the minivan, but he would not say how much was found.
Authorities believe the man acted alone and had walked to the bank after parking his car near a golf course about two miles away. They would not release the suspect's name Wednesday afternoon because charges had not been filed against him.
Lanza said the suspect was carrying a backpack containing two walkie-talkies, chains and plastic handcuffs when he entered the bank. After police arrived, a hostage wearing only underwear brought one of the walkie-talkies out to give to police, apparently so the suspect could communicate with officers.
Lanza said he expected the suspect to face federal bank robbery charges.