A pile of pink cash and scattered shell casings littered the ground in a small alley on Glenneyre St. after police opened fire on a gun-wielding man. The man was fleeing the scene after firing shots as he robbed a nearby Citizens Bank around 11 a.m. Friday.
Despite the short firefight, officers took Michael Edward Sousa of Acton, California, into custody with no injuries. He is charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and armed robbery.
Sousa entered the bank, 800 Glenneyre St., wearing a plastic Halloween mask. Once outside, a device designed to mark robbery suspects burst, covering Sousa — and the stacks of cash he was carrying — in pink dye.
According to witnesses, police saw the dye and 10 to 12 were shots fired, leaving bullet holes in three cars — two of which were occupied, according to statement from the Laguna Beach Police.
Sandy Walker was inside when Sousa came into the bank. She said Sousa had the banks’ security guard at gunpoint when he entered the building. Walker said Sousa fired three shots from a handgun into the ceiling, then said he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
At first Walker thought it was a Halloween prank, but that changed when the gun went off.
“That’s when I knew this wasn’t a joke, this is real,” Walker said.
Walker, who works across the street from bank, said the gunman then herded all the employees into an area in back and Walker saw an opportunity to escape and ran for the street.
A co-worker who watched from across the street said the man came through the parking lot and took off his mask, revealing his face. The dye then exploded as he crossed the parking lot toward Zuloo Cafe. The firefight ensued.
Teo Moore, a trainer in the Laguna Health Club next door, was outside and said he heard the police repeatedly shout for the man to put down his weapon as they ran toward him. The next thing he heard was gunfire.
“They gave him significant opportunity to surrender,” Moore said.
Residents in the neighborhood area behind the bank were alarmed when they heard the blasts.
Mike, a resident who declined to give his last name, said he heard rounds flying through the trees outside his house.
“I actually ducked and got on the ground because there were bullets flying,” he said.
Resident Dan Drewnowski said he heard loud yelling before the shots.
“It was life and death yelling, not where someone was playing,” Drewnowski said.
The FBI and the Orange County District Attorney’s office will assist Laguna police in Sousa’s investigation.