It was, says CBS News correspondent Joel Brown, a dramatic scene as the suspected robber emerged from a Capital One Bank in Takoma Park, Md. with a bag of money, and his hostage, using her body to shield him from police who'd surrounded the building.
The officers held their fire as a dye pack exploded in the bag holding the stolen cash, releasing a cloud of red smoke.
Then, trying to back away from the police, the gunman slipped and fell on some snow, enabling his hostage to break away.
As he pursued her, gunfire erupted. "He shot at the police and the police shot him," a bystander told CBS News.
"As soon as she (the hostage) broke (free), the officers had a clear shot and were able to return fire, which took him down," Takoma Park Police Chief Ronald Ricucci told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Russ Mitchell.
In addition to the dead suspect, two people had non-life threatening injuries: a bank customer who was pistol-whipped by the gunman, and a police officer was grazed in the leg by a bullet, "possibly by a ricochet," Andrew Ellis, of Prince George's County Public Affairs, told reporters.
The hostage is "fine," Ricucci says.
"Obviously, she's gone through a lot of trauma as a result of the incident. But she was checked out at the hospital and released," adding the pistol-whipped customer was being treated at a hospital Friday night.
Bank employees reported the suspect appeared to have some sort of bomb. Police say they found a different but similar device strapped to the dead suspect's body.
Both turned out to be fakes, Ricucci says.
The investigation is just beginning, correspondent Brown observed, into the identity of the suspect and why he tried such a daring escape.
But Ricucci had high praise for officers who responded, telling Mitchell, "We train for this every day. Everything went according to the book. Our officers did an outstanding job. … There was firearm discipline. There was not a crossfire … even with six officers shooting. … we were able to take the suspect out and save the life of the hostage, which was our goal."
Police from three jurisdictions were at the scene.
To see the video of the unfolding botched robbery, click below. Warning: The video is graphic.