KISUMU: One suspect was shot dead, while five others were arrested in a botched robbery in Kisumu's Equity Bank branch along Ang'awa Avenue Thursday afternoon.
The incident which happened at 1.15pm saw the suspect shot following a quick response by the police who got a tip off from members of the public.
The bank robbers held staff at the banking facility hostage for few minutes, but police speedy response ensured that one suspect was gunned down and the others arrested.
Nyanza regional police coordinator Willy Lugusa said customers noticed funny characters in the bank and alerted police officers who usually guard the banking facility.
He said that one customer had been spotted carrying money in a paper bag.
"Upon being alerted, officers moved swiftly and confronted the man, who instead declined to comply to officers orders but appeared to remove something from his back," said Lugusa.
It was at this point that the suspect was shot dead. Lugusa said the paperbag was carrying cash stolen from a safe from the bank that had been broken into.
The police also recovered a big spanner which the robber used to threaten the cashiers to surrender the cash, pretending to be a gun.
Inside the bank, blood and cash were strewn on the floor as shocked staff and customers lay down in despair and disbelief, lucky to have survived the ordeal.
The Nyanza regional police boss confirmed that no employee was injured in the melee.
He clarified that the five people who were arrested were to be detained at Kisumu Central Police Station for questioning and to confirm that they were genuine customers and not part of the gang.
"We are currently liaising with the bank management to ascertain if in deed the five are genuine customers or aides to the shot criminal," said Lugusa.
However a source within the bank revealed that two of the suspects were from Bandani, one from Kasule while another was a Prison Warden at Kisumu Main Prison, Kodiaga.
The police boss also revealed that one person believed to be part of the gang had fled the scene of crime and was still at large.
He said the bank is yet to quantify how much money had been stolen from the safe.
The body of the shot gangster was taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital Morgue.
A resident, Kennedy Otieno acknowledged the swift police response. "Police in Kisumu should maintain such response when it comes to crime," said Otieno.
He however challenged police to be swift also when responding to crimes in the informal settlements.
Thursday incident comes barely a week after a similar incident happened in Nyeri where a gang disguised as auditors made away with Sh30 million from Equity Bank.
Meanwhile the police also arrested seven other people on Wednesday night as crack down of gangs in Kisumu continued. Five were arrested in Nyamasaria, while two were pounced on in Kondele.
The gangs have been terrorising Kisumu residents in the past few months with cases of rape, killings and robbery being associated to the groups.