06/09/10 — Bank robbery suspect leads chief on chase

View Archive

Bank robbery suspect leads chief on chase

By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 9, 2010 1:46 PM


Clifton Earl Johnson, 57, of Pikeville, is transferred to the custody of Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies this morning after being assessed for possible injuries sustained after he allegedly robbed The Heritage Bank located at 100 N. Wilson St. in Fremont.

FREMONT -- A suspect accused of robbing The Heritage Bank in Fremont this morning not long after it opened was captured and taken into custody within minutes by the Fremont police and Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies.

Fremont police Chief R.K. Rawlings said he came upon Clifton Earl Johnson, 57, of Pikeville, near Thompson's Mini Storage, about a block from the bank on Wilson Street only minutes after he received word of the robbery.

Rawlings chased Johnson who, allegedly, turned and pointed a weapon at the chief, who said he shot at him four times.

"He aimed at me as I walked across the street. He pointed his weapon, and I fired at him," Rawlings said.

None of the four shots hit the suspect, lawmen said, but one passed through his pant leg.

The man did not fire back, Rawlings said. But he did not drop his weapon until Sheriff's Office deputies arrived.

At that point, Johnson also allegedly started stuffing money into his pockets, Rawlings said.

Johnson was immediately arrested and taken to the Wayne County Jail for processing.

The state Highway Patrol also responded to the emergency call.

Rawlings said he believed it was necessary to defend himself when the suspect turned and pointed the weapon, but added that he was glad none of his shots found their mark.

"I'm glad I didn't hit him," Rawlings said. "Nobody wants to take a life."

Deputies recovered a tan shoulder bag containing an unknown amount of money. It was taken back to the bank to be counted.