WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) – A bank robber shot and wounded an off-duty fire official who tried to subdue him and escaped with a bag of money Wednesday as police chased another man they thought was their suspect and shot him in the shoulder.

Police were still searching for the bank robber Wednesday evening.

He entered the bank dressed in black, wearing a black hooded sweat shirt and his face covered and demanded money, police said.

Fire Battalion Chief Felix Sambuco, who was in the bank as a customer, attempted to intervene, grabbing the robber from behind, and was shot in the leg, O’Leary said. The robber then fled on foot.

Sambuco was taken to Waterbury Hospital where he was treated and later released.

Walva Wright, 23, was arrested after leading police on a car chase from a neighborhood near the Webster Bank branch and onto Route 8, said Police Chief Neil O’Leary.

Police say they first approached Wright when they noticed him acting suspiciously about 40 minutes after the 11 a.m. robbery.

Wright sped off and became stuck in a snow bank, O’Leary said.

As police approached, Wright was able to free the Volkswagen Jetta, and then drove it directly at an officer, who shot him, O’Leary said.

Wright then led police onto Route 8, where his car collided with a police vehicle and flipped. While arresting Wright, police were able to determine he was not linked to the robbery, O’Leary said.

“He stated that his car was unregistered, uninsured, he had narcotics in the car and that he panicked and he took off when he saw the police,” O’Leary said.

Wright was being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. He faces numerous charges, O’Leary said.

Route 8 southbound was closed for nearly four hours as police investigated, causing major traffic delays. Nearby schools were also put in temporary lockdown.

AP-ES-02-27-08 1820EST


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