Nightly News   |  December 29, 2013

Wanted bank robbery suspect killed in shootout

The suspect’s crime spree began two days before Christmas, included string of bank robberies in several states and the death of one police officer. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> nationwide man hunt for an alleged cop killer an bank robber appears to be over. the fbi says the suspect was killed today in a shootout with police in phoenix. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren.

>> reporter: a phoenix detective is being hailed as a hero tonight for jumping in when he heard a fellow officer under fire, not knowing the suspect was the same man wanted in a brazen cop killing just days before.

>> because he responded, we have two officers that were involved in this ordeal and they're both alive.

>> reporter: according to officials, the suspect's deadly crime spree started two days before christmas in atlanta when the man with a black mask , pattern jacket and semiautomatic handgun made off with money from a customer at an atm. that same day 300 miles away in mississippi, officials say the suspect hit another bank then ambushed responding officers.

>> when he engaged those officers, he seemed to have gotten into a firing position or firing stance similar to someone that has a background in tactics.

>> reporter: a 38-year-old husband and father was killed. his partner severely wounded. and a massive man hunt began. then saturday more than 1500 miles away in phoenix, arizona, authorities say a man who fit the description of the suspect robbed a third bank, shooting at responding police before he was shot and killed.

>> similarities included the clothing worn by the subject, the object the subject utilized to prop open the door , statements the bank robber uttered during the robberies.

>> reporter: authorities also traced the suspect's cell phone to the three locations. they still have not released his identify. for the widow of the officer in mississippi, the end of the coast-to-coast man hunt --

>> thank you from the bottom of our hearts for shining your light in this time of darkness.

>> reporter: is the beginning of the healing. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york.