Police led bank employees and customers out of a San Jose Chase Bank branch in single file, some still so shaken by the robbery that they walked to safety with hands in the air.
"The policeman went in with about 10 guns and let the employees out in two groups," said witness Joanne Milam.
The 911 calls reporting a bank robbery in progress came in at 10:52 a.m. Monday. Police say a man with a gun walked into the Chase Bank branch on Camden Avenue. Unlike many bank robberies where demands are made with a note, the suspect in this case fired a pistol in what police are calling a warning shot to let people know his demands were serious.
"Anybody who robs a bank, first of all, is a pretty bold criminal, but to go inside and actually discharge a weapon, whether or not he is shooting at somebody, that takes a special type of criminal… and this person is at large in the public," said SJPD Sgt. Jason Dwyer.
Initial reports indicate the robber fled on foot. A CHP helicopter quickly circled overhead and police officers fanned into neighborhoods located behind the bank building. Police searched several backyards, including John Brisbin's.
"They told me what they were doing, their demeanor was excellent, they were very professional, [and] they appeared to be concerned," said Brisbin.
Police are reviewing surveillance video from the bank and say the general policy is not to disclose how much money is missing.
"Depending on what type of teller and what his demands were and where in the bank he went, would really depend on what kind of take there was, but we don't know exactly what the amount is at this time," said Dwyer.
This same branch was also held up in November, but police say the person responsible for that robbery, along with six other South Bay bank robberies, was arrested earlier this month.