CHICAGO - Federal authorities said Monday they are confident they have arrested all those responsible for a deadly Chicago bank robbery, however none of the three suspects had yet been charged with the fatal shooting of a teller.
The robbers all were masked in the May 22 holdup and, under questioning, the suspects have engaged in "fingerpointing'' to accuse each other of killing the bank employee, said Robert Grant, special agent in-charge of the FBI's Chicago office.
"We know we have all the right players. We have them all arrested,'' Grant told a news conference Monday. He said authorities have their "personal views'' as to who the shooter was, but declined to elaborate.
Grant left open the possibility of new charges against those arrested in the holdup, saying clear video footage from bank surveillance cameras were a focus of the ongoing investigation.
Two of the suspects, David Vance, 28, and Henry Bluford, 29, both of Chicago, made their first appearances in federal court Monday - wearing leg shackles and orange jail uniforms.
At the brief hearing, prosecutors said the suspects are charged with armed bank robbery and use of a firearm in a violent crime in the heist at the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan. If convicted, they face up to life in prison.
As they entered the courtroom, the suspects passed within feet of Verton Gibson Sr., whose 23-year-old son Tramaine Gibson was the slain teller. Gibson's eyes glued to the suspects as they walked by, but he sat quietly during the proceedings.
A woman sitting a little farther away, however, wept openly.
"It was very difficult to see them interacting with people … knowing my son would never be able to do that again,'' Verton Gibson told reporters later.
An affidavit attached to the complaint against Vance and Bluford said the teller was shot after he failed to open the bank vault; even as Gibson lay bleeding, he allegedly was dragged back toward the vault.
Vance and Bluford, both arrested Friday, said little in court, except to give their names and ages and to acknowledge they understood the charges against them.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason scheduled their next hearing for Thursday.
Another suspect, Alton Marshall, 30, of Chicago, was arrested earlier last week and appeared in court Saturday on the same charges. A fourth person is in custody, suspected of stealing the vehicle used as a getaway car, but hasn't been charged.
In an alleged statement made to authorities after his arrest - summarized in an affidavit - Marshall admitted he fired shots during the holdup.
But he said it was one of the other two robbers who shot the bank teller. A female customer and a male security guard also were wounded.
The violent robbery that Grant said devastated many people in the South Side community where it occurred netted the robbers just $6,000.
"It never ceases to amaze me, especially with bank robbers … that they would kill someone over such a small amount of money,'' he said.
Authorities said a break in the case came when someone hoping for a portion of a $50,000 reward secretly tape-recorded a conversation with Marshall, who then allegedly implicated himself and the two other suspects on the recording.