A suspected Southern California bank robber who was fatally shot by San Francisco police after he allegedly tried to run them over near the city’s Buena Vista Park on Tuesday evening has been identified by the medical examiner’s office as 25-year-old Joshua Smith. Police were notified by the FBI that a stolen vehicle that was involved in an Irvine bank robbery and was being tracked through a GPS device was in San Francisco.
Officers went to the first block of Buena Vista Avenue East, located between Haight Street and Duboce Avenue, at about 5:40 p.m. to try to apprehend the suspect, police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said. When the officers tried to pull over the vehicle and arrest the man, he allegedly attempted to run them over with the car. The officers, fearing for their safety, opened fire on the man, striking him, police said.
The man, later identified as Smith, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and died sometime before 7:45 p.m., police said. Investigators believe Smith may be the “Gen X Bandit,” suspected by the FBI of robbing two banks in Irvine on May 17. Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said that after the bank robberies, sheriff’s deputies had spotted a car at a gas station matching the description of the one used in the bank robberies — a gray two-door BMW 3 Series with dealer plates. When the deputies tried to detain the driver, he took off at speeds as high as 110 mph, and the pursuit was dropped for safety reasons, Amormino said.
San Francisco police Sgt. Mike Andraychak said that the car involved in Tuesday night’s confrontation near Buena Vista Park matched that description. An FBI spokesperson was not immediately available this morning to confirm whether Smith was indeed the “Gen X Bandit.”
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