Brother Of Bank Robbery Victim Speaks

Wednesday, February 18th 2009, 7:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

COFFEYVILLE, KS -- The FBI continues to investigate a deadly shooting that agents say happened after a Claremore man robbed a bank and led police on a chase.

Willie Neal moved back to Coffeyville from Georgia eight days ago to help his brother recover from surgery.

"He was coming down here to help me out to where I can get back out on my feet," the victim's brother Cornelius Austin said.

Neal was shot and killed outside his brother's home Tuesday afternoon after, police say, Claremore resident Ross Williams robbed a Bank of America in Coffeyville, then led officers on a chase across town.

02/17/2009  Related Story:  Coffeyville Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested

The chase ended when Williams crashed his SUV into a tree near the end of a dirt road. Police say Williams, who was wearing body armor, immediately got out of the SUV and began firing at the officers.

"He opened fire with a .22 and then commenced with an AK-47," Coffeyville Police Chief Joe Humble said.

Humble says his officers reversed their cars, and then returned fire.

"I think the officers did an outstanding job," he said. "Anytime you have a bank robbery and you can get the guy within a few minutes, then start a pursuit, it's unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but we got the guy, and I think the officers did an outstanding job. They did what they are trained to do."

Humble says Neal and his brother were behind the officers and in Williams' line of fire.

Austin says his brother was in the yard next to a tree. Williams was at the end of the road off into the woods, and Austin wonders how his brother could have shot from so far away.

"It would take a one-in-a-trillion chances of one bullet reaching all the way up here," Austin said.

Humble says the autopsy shows Neal was killed with a bullet from a rifle and that Coffeyville Police officers do not use rifles. The only rifle fired, he says, was from Williams.

Williams, 39, was arrested Tuesday night and booked into the Montgomery County jail.