Gunman recites Lord's Prayer in bloody rampage at Detroit bankJOHN HUGHES , Associated Press
Mar. 11, 1997 11:32 PM ET
DETROIT (AP) _ A man wearing gray-and-white camouflage killed three people at a bank Tuesday, and ordered everyone else inside to sing the Lord's Prayer with him before he was killed in a barrage of police gunfire.
He first killed two employees inside the Comerica bank branch, and then took an elderly man hostage outside, shoving him to the ground and fatally shooting him in the head. Officers then opened fire.
``It appears as if we have a person who walked in to kill,'' said Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon. ``It was a matter of minutes, but I'm sure for those people there, it must have been an eternity.''
It was the second deadly big-city shootout at a bank in 11 days.
The gunman was identified as Allen Lane Griffin Jr., 21, who the chief said was apparently depressed over a ``domestic situation.''
Griffin began the rampage two blocks from the bank, confronting a man out jogging with his dog, shooting the man in the face, then stealing a Volvo, which he drove to the bank.
``You could hear through the glass. He was yelling loud, `Get down!''' said Belinda Crawford, who was approaching the cash machine and saw a man inside wielding a shotgun.
After shooting three people in the bank, McKinnon said, ``he made all the people who were on the floor start to sing the Lord's Prayer. He then sang with them, and he was yelling to them obscenities and again singing.''
Griffin then marched around the room with a shotgun in one hand and a walking cane in the other, McKinnon said. At one point, the chief said, Griffin tried to shoot again but the gun jammed.
As the gunman left, he grabbed an elderly man as he was getting out of his car, apparently to go to the cash machine.
Even as officers yelled at Griffin to let the hostage go, ``he pushed him to the ground and shot him in the head,'' McKinnon said.
At that point, officers fired five or six times and killed Griffin, police said.
Police initially described the shootings as an attempted robbery, but later said the gunman's motive was unclear.
Griffin had been wanted for violating probation. He was convicted in 1988 on a burglary charge and in 1993 on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and trying to deliver more than 50 grams of cocaine, McKinnon said.
Tom Fisher, a senior vice president for Comerica, said he couldn't think of how the rampage might have been prevented.
``We spent over $2.5 million over the last couple of years just on increasing security measures in our branches,'' Fisher said. ``In the sense where we're dealing with a deranged gunman, I'm just not sure there's anything any of us can do to totally protect ourselves in that kind of circumstance.''
Among the dead were Stanley R. Pijanowski III, 52, assistant vice president and branch manager, and James L. Isom, 25, retail services representative.
Police did not release the slain hostage's name, but the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News identified him as Stanley Hays, 77, of Detroit. ``His wife is also elderly and is in a coma right now, so it's a very, very tragic situation,'' McKinnon said.
Lisa Griffin, a 38-year-old assistant branch manager, was hospitalized in fair condition. McKinnon said she was not related to the gunman.
The 23-year-old jogger with the dog was in serious condition. The Detroit Free Press and the News identified him as Eric Skalnek of Roseville.
In Los Angeles on Feb. 28, two men died in a brazen gunfight with police after a botched holdup at the Bank of America. Sixteen police officers and civilians were wounded or injured in that battle, which was televised live from news helicopters.