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Published September 15, 2009, 09:32 AM

ND bank robbery suspect apparently killed himself

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of robbing a northwestern North Dakota bank at gunpoint led them on a more than five-hour chase into Montana, then back into North Dakota before killing himself in a field after a stolen pickup he was driving got stuck.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of robbing a northwestern North Dakota bank at gunpoint led them on a more than five-hour chase into Montana, then back into North Dakota before killing himself in a field after a stolen pickup he was driving got stuck.

The name of the suspect was not immediately released. Mark Hanson, a Williston police detective, said the man was from North Dakota but not from the Williston area.

Police said he matched the description of a man who robbed the north branch of the American State Bank in Williston shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, and they found a large amount of cash in the pickup he was driving.

Police said the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased into a field south of Fortuna about 11:20 p.m.

No one was hurt in the bank robbery.

Hanson said the suspect fled the robbery in a green car and was spotted near Culbertson, Mont., about a half hour later. The man disabled a trooper's vehicle by shooting a tire, the detective said.

Authorities said the suspect's getaway vehicle got stuck and was abandoned near Westby, Mont., near the North Dakota state line in Divide County sometime after 10 p.m. Soon afterward, they got a report of a stolen black pickup.

Aircraft from the U.S. Border Patrol and North Dakota Highway Patrol directed law enforcement squad cars to the pickup.

Roosevelt County, Mont., Sheriff Freedom Crawford said the pickup nearly crashed into a patrol car on a back road near Fortuna, along the North Dakota-Montana line. Deputies chased the suspect through marshes and fields "that had grass over your head," he said.

After the pickup got stuck, Crawford said, the suspect got out and fired a single shot. He said his two deputies returned fire with a rifle and shotgun, not knowing the suspect had shot himself.

"My deputies informed me that they did not strike that subject with any of those rounds," the sheriff said.

The deputies have been placed on routine administrative leave and will be offered counseling, he said.

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