Wild west shootout at Yorktown IN bank

By Rick Yencer

YORKTOWN, IN - It was a wild west shootout that put an accused robber in jail and shutdown an election poll briefly before the sun set on Tuesday.

 The bank robbery at First Merchants Bank at Jackson Street and Nebo Road also set off a public safety alert that one of the robbers got away which was later unfound.

Yorktown Marshall Todd St. John said one of the suspects made up the story that a third robber was involved which caused portions of Jackson and Nebo to be shut down to even residents for several hours Tuesday night. The precinct 74 poll at University Church was closed to voters during early stages of the robbery investigation, but election officials decided to extend voting for an hour so no one would be disenfranchised.

 Malcolm X. Crim, 25, 2012 E Park Ave., remained in jail under no bond for attempted murder, criminal confinement and armed robbery after he was involved in a shootout with Yorktown police officer Ryan Jaromin. A second suspect, identified as James Cole, 19, remains in IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, with multiple gunshot wounds  after he ran from police.

  St. John said there had not been such a shootout with a suspect since Muncie police killed a suspected  thief during an incident at a Village Pantry in the University Village last spring.

 Once shots were fired, nearly a dozen  police officers swarmed the area and shut down roads as they initially thought a third suspect got away.

 A witness said she heard a spray of gunshots and ran to safety as the shootout began. St. John said Cole was armed with an AR assault rifle and sprayed the police car with bullets. As many as 20 shots believed to be fired. Yorktown Police Sgt. Jeff Wulff also was on the scene and returned fire, shooting Cole. The suspect dropped his gun after being shot and continued running until he was shot again, according to witnesses.

 Crim was found in the getaway car when police arrived and told authorities that Cole and another man robbed the bank. He also said Cole was the shooter. Crim later recanted the original story and said he and Cole robbed the bank with no third suspect.

 A known felon, Crim has been convicted of cocaine possession and other crimes and has been repeatedly released from jail before implicated in the latest robbery.

 Bank employees said two men entered the bank and demanded money me put in a bag, Police found weapons and the bag of money that Crim was sitting in.

 Word of the bank robbery spread through the community and nearby election polls as traffic backup and news helicopters attracted voters' attention.

 Gary Prater, who runs Gary's Garden across from the bank, said he could not get home until nearly midnight as police searched for a suspect that just a story Crim made up. He said bullets sprayed utility poles and his front porch. And one of his friends witnessed the shootout, saying she was terrified of the event.

 Prater's friend could not believe the robber opened up on police with a machine gun as she ran for cover. She watched as Wulff brought Cole down with a shotgun and as other witnesses ran to aid the victim.

 Coles remains in critical condition as family and friends held a prayer vigil for him on Saturday.

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