|Lt. Mealy receiving the Deputy of the Month award|
BRADENTON – An autopsy has confirmed that the bank robbery suspect who shot an MCSO deputy took his own life on Monday during a shootout with deputies who were in pursuit after responding to the call. Lt. Bob Mealy, an 18-year veteran of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, was shot by the suspect, Ross Chrisman, 24, of Sarasota. MCSO Public Information Director Dave Bristow says that, "Lt. Mealy continues to recover and is doing well."
The deputies had responded to a robbery at Florida Bank near the intersection of University Parkway and Tuttle Avenue at around 11:25 that morning. According to witnesses, Chrisman entered the bank and demanded money, while armed with a handgun. Chrisman then fled the bank in a white pick-up truck and was spotted several minutes later by Lt. Mealy.
Stop sticks were used twice in an attempt to stop the vehicle. As deputies approached the vehicle, Chrisman fired a shot and struck Lt. Mealy. Deputies returned fire and multiple rounds were exchanged between the suspect and deputies.
A short time later, Chrisman was discovered dead in the truck. It was first thought that he'd been hit by MCSO shots during the exchange of gunfire, but a preliminary autopsy showed that Chrisman killed himself while in his truck.
When Chrisman's truck was searched, authorities found a dead dog, which they first believed Chrisman had killed before taking his own life. However, after a necropsy of the dog, it is now believed that the animal died from the deputies returning gunfire.
Money was also found in the truck, but it has not been confirmed if it was from the bank robbery.
Lt. Mealy, 52, was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.
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