Charges have been filed against two men who were captured outside a Richmond bank as part of an FBI surveillance operation that resulted in agents killing a third robbery suspect, authorities said.
Officials from the FBI and U.S. attorney's office announced Saturday that Aaron Russell, 40, of the 9200 block of Hunter Drive in Orland Hills, and Roberto Favela, 34, of the 5500 block of South California Avenue in Chicago, each were charged with one count of attempted bank robbery. Favela and Russell were seized about 11:30 a.m. Friday outside an Associated Bank branch at 10910 N. Main St. in Richmond.
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Authorities said Tony Starnes, 45, of the 7800 block of South Marquette Avenue in Chicago, was shot to death by FBI special agents after ramming a Honda Civic into one of their vehicles.
FBI agents had been investigating Russell and others in connection with a number of armed robberies of Chicago-area jewelry stores and a bank heist that occurred Feb. 2 in Poplar Grove, according to a criminal complaint filed late Friday.
Authorities said the surveillance operation unfolded Friday morning in Chicago, when FBI agents observed Favela and Russell traveling in a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe and Starnes driving a 2005 Honda Civic. Both vehicles had been reported stolen in Chicago.
Upon reaching an unspecified location at the Illinois-Wisconsin border, federal authorities said, Russell exited the Tahoe and joined Starnes by sitting in the Civic's back seat, according to a sworn affidavit by FBI special agent Terence Heatherman. Both vehicles then drove away together to Richmond, with Favela parking the Tahoe near a car wash across from Associated Bank.
Heatherman stated Starnes and Russell eventually parked the Civic in a lot in front of the bank and Favela moved the Tahoe to meet them there. Documents say the FBI agents soon surrounded the Civic and announced they were law enforcement.
"The Honda Civic pulled forward and rammed into a federal agent's vehicle," Heatherman's sworn affidavit says, "causing law enforcement to shoot and kill the driver, Starnes. Law enforcement arrested Russell, who was still in the back seat of the Honda Civic. Russell was wearing a form of a face mask around his neck as well as gloves."
In an interview with FBI agents Friday, documents say, Russell told them the men had planned to rob Associated Bank because Starnes was familiar with the area. Russell, who was convicted of armed robbery in 2004 and 1991, said he and Starnes drove around the bank because it would be easier to control if they waited until customers departed, according to the affidavit.
Favela, who was seized while in the Tahoe's driver's seat, was supposed to serve as a lookout for the planned bank robbery, authorities said. Russell said he had two firearms in a bag in the Civic's back seat while Starnes had a weapon in the front, Heatherman said in the affidavit.
"Russell said the goal was not to hurt anyone inside the bank, but that the firearms were real," documents state.
No injuries were reported to officers or anyone outside the bank. Employees inside the bank were also unharmed, authorities said.
Russell and Favela face a maximum of 20 years behind bars if convicted of attempted bank robbery, a felony.