Man who robbed two Lake Charles banks shot dead in Texas by law enforcement

Man who robbed two Lake Charles banks shot dead in Texas by law enforcement
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The man who robbed two banks in Lake Charles was killed in Llano, Texas Wednesday afternoon by law enforcement, authorities said.

Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon made the announcement at a Thursday news conference that Jeffrey Gray Wise, 52, of Austin, was killed Wednesday around 5 p.m. when he was stopped by law enforcement.

Dixon said "shots were exchanged" and troopers and deputies then shot him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dixon said officers have "been hot and heavy on this" since the robberies occurred.

"You don't come into Lake Charles, rob two banks and think we're going to ignore it" said Dixon.

They found out the white Suburban used in the JD Bank robbery was registered to Wise, who was on federal parole for bank robbery.

Dixon showed photos of Wise taken at his Monday parole meeting in Austin, Texas.

Wise robbed two area banks - JD Bank on March 9 and Whitney Bank on April 6.

Dixon said even through a disguise on surveillance tape the were able to identify their suspect.

A warrant for $1.5 million was issued for Wise for the JD Bank robbery and an arrest plan was implemented on Wednesday, he said.

Two Lake Charles police officers were sent to work with the FBI in Austin where they located Wise on a motorcycle.

"At about 3:35 p.m. he fled on a Harley Davidson," said Dixon.

After a pursuit, Dixon said they located the subject on Highway 71 near Llano.

FBI searched Wise's home on Wednesday and found the Suburban and the silver Chrysler 200 he used in the robberies. They also found several items he used to disguise himself in the two Lake Charles robberies.

"We're 100 percent sure that Mr. Wise was responsible for bank robberies," Dixon said.

Wise told the FBI during previous arrests that if he was ever caught again, he would die "by suicide by cop."

Dixon hopes this news puts the public at ease.

"I can't tell you how many people have come to me and said 'When are you gonna catch the bank robber, when you gonna catch the bank robber?' I said just calm down, trust me, we will," he said. "You don't come to Lake Charles and rob a bank; you don't come to Lake Charles to commit a murder; you don't come to Lake Charles to do anything. We will hunt you down. That's what we do and we're real good at it."

Lake Charles police will continue to investigate, as will the FBI and the Texas Rangers.

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