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Armed customer tries to stop bank robber

AMHERST, N.Y., Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A bank customer tried to stop a fleeing armed robber in the Buffalo, N.Y., area, running after the man and firing his own weapon, police said.

The robbery occurred early Friday at a Citizens Bank branch in Amherst, N.Y., The Buffalo News reported. Capt. Enzio Villalta, an Amherst police detective, said the man, armed with a handgun, ordered bank employees and customers to keep their hands in the air and then told tellers to hand him cash.

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The customer pursued the robber as he left, Villalta said. He was armed with a licensed gun.

The robber escaped, while the customer spent a brief time in custody after police got to the scene.

The customer had not been charged late Friday, and police said his actions may have been legal. But officers questioned his common sense.

"Although the law might say that shooting at an armed fleeing felon, in some cases, is justified, it might not be the wise thing to do," police Capt. Stephen J. McGonagle said. "If the suspect is fleeing, and nobody's life is in immediate danger, sometimes you have to use discretion and let the robber get away."

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