Local News

Officer Injured in High Speed Chase Speaks out

Posted March 14, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Two of the three suspects in a North Raleigh bank robbery and a 22-mile high speed chase are now behind bars. Two women were charged Friday with armed robbery and various traffic violations for their part in the crimes. One is also charged with being a fugitive from Maryland.

Cynthia Pasmore of Maryland, 35, is charged with armed robbery and being a fugitive from justice. She is wanted in Maryland for violating probation. Michelle Peters, 30, is also charged with armed robbery.

The FBI has confirmed that the third suspect, a male who was shot to death after the chase when he pulled a gun on police officers, was 45-year-old Robert Downey, Jr. of Silver Spring, Maryland. He is a former employee of WBAL-TV news in Baltimore. The FBI says Downey was being investigated in connection with at least nine other bank robberies in the Washington, D.C. area. They suspect the two women may also have been involved in at least three of those robberies.

Friday, a state trooper who was injured in Thursday's fray granted WRAL-TV5'sAmanda Lamban exclusive interview. Trooper Scott Pirilla says there were some tense moments during the chase.

Pirilla jumped out of his car when the suspects' car landed in a ditch. When a woman ran from the car he chased her on foot. That's when he received his head injury.

Pirilla was injured in the head and the knee, but he said he feels lucky.

The FBI is handling the investigation of the bank robbery. The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the shooting investigation.

Sources close to the case say the suspect's gun, while it looked like a .45 calibre pistol, was actually a BB gun.

The trooper who shot the suspect is on paid leave while the investigation continues.