UPDATE: Stuart detectives have identified the suspects in Thursday's deadly bank robbery. They are Kevin Cyr, 36 and Sarah K. Gavin, 30 Both are from North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
Stuart police on Friday continued efforts to notify family members of two suspected bank robbers who confronted law enforcement officials Thursday on Kanner Highway, leaving one fatally shot and the other critically injured.
The two are suspected in the robbery of a Chase Bank shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday where the man presented a note and brandished a firearm, which turned out to be a replica pistol, said Sgt. Marty Jacobson, Stuart police spokesman.
The suspected bank robbers crashed their silver Ford Mustang into an unmarked Martin County Sheriff's Office vehicle on Kanner Highway. Multiple shots were fired and two deputies were involved. The woman died and the man was flown to a trauma center in critical condition.
The crime scene tape at the 2000 block of Kanner Highway blocked the highway between Monterey Road and U.S. 1 for hours, causing snarled traffic in a large part of the city.
Jacobson said the incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when a man and a woman entered the Chase Bank branch at U.S. 1 and Monterey Road. The man brandished a handgun and handed a teller a note saying the bank was being robbed.
Jacobson said the pair got away with slightly more than $1,000.
"If we had gotten there just a few seconds sooner," he said, "we would have engaged with them."
Jacobson said the Mustang fled north on U.S. 1, encountered police vehicles, did a U-turn and headed south on Kanner.
Near Kanner and Central Parkway, the occupants of the Mustang came in visual contact with Stuart Police Chief Ed Morley and Assistant Chief David Dyess, who also were driving on Kanner.
"They saw each other," Jacobson said, "and the suspect flashed his gun (at Morley and Dyess)."
Moments later, after running over Stop Sticks that deflated the tires, the Mustang was struck by an unmarked sheriff's office SUV. Both vehicles came to rest in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes.
Jacobson said no Stuart police officers fired their weapons. Asked if sheriff's deputies fired, spokeswoman Rhonda Irons said multiple shots were fired and two deputies were involved.
At least one bullet hole could be seen in the driver's side of the Mustang, and dried blood was trailing from the open passenger-side window.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and her sheet-covered body was still lying between the Mustang and SUV at 5 p.m.
Asked if the death and injuries were caused by the collision or by gunshot wounds, Jacobson said, "We'll have to wait for the (medical examiner) to determine the cause of death."
He said an autopsy is scheduled Friday.
No law enforcement officers were injured. Jacobson said money was recovered from the Mustang and there was "evidence of a dye pack (used to color stolen money and make it useless) going off in the car."
Several people in the area reported hearing three or four gunshots, including Margaret Damen, director of planned giving at the United Way of Martin County.
Damen said she was driving south on Kanner about 2 p.m. Thursday to the nonprofit's office at Kanner and Central Parkway when she passed a white van with a flashing red light in the northbound turn lane.
"I thought it was after me for speeding," Damen said, "when this Mustang comes flying past me, zig-zagging down the street. I thought it was a drunk; I didn't see inside the car. Then two police cars go past me chasing the Mustang. In another two or three seconds, they stopped and I heard, 'Pow! Pow! Pow!' It could have been four shots; they came real fast."
Damen said the shots "all sounded the same; they seemed to have the same tone."
Within a few more seconds, Damen said, another police car pulled up and blocked traffic on Kanner.
"It was a woman officer," Damen said, "and she told us to turn around and get out of there. I was pretty scared, so that's what I did."
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