Illustration: LaMar Norman
Late fall in Edina, Minn., can make mid-winter elsewhere seem mild by comparison. Nov. 16, 2000, was such a day. Snow had blanketed the city overnight, leaving an icy sheen on its streets and a chill in the air that cut to the bone.
By ten o'clock that morning, Edina Police Officers Mike Blood and Shelby Lane were relying on parkas and hot coffee to stave off the cold when they heard a call go out for a bank robbery in progress. For Edina's finest, things were about to warm up considerably.
Less than a half mile separated the officers from the FirStar Bank at the corner of 69th Street and France Avenue. Officer Blood pulled into the bank's parking lot from the south and Lane approached the main entrance from the bank's northeast side; the two units effectively achieved a 360-degree coverage of the bank's perimeter.
Inside the FirStar Bank, the robber was wrapping up business. For two years, David Lincoln White had supported himself by hitting banks. The 30-year-old Cincinnati police academy dropout had his routine down to a science, doing the requisite recon, and never overstaying his welcome in one place.
His script—a series of copious notes he kept on how to carry out successful robberies—had served him well. But today he deviated from it and helped himself to the tills a little longer. His lingering was such that by the time he did leave, the first thing he saw upon exiting the bank was Officer Blood's patrol unit pulling into the driveway—right between White and his getaway vehicle.
White raised his Ruger Mini-14 and opened fire. Bullets shattered the windshield of Blood's patrol vehicle and sheared off the top of his belt radio.
Blood dove out the driver's door in hopes of getting out of the kill zone. But White had other ideas as he trained the Ruger on the officer. Two more blasts rang out and Blood went down hard in the snow, the bones in his lower right leg pulverized. White approached the fallen officer and calmly pumped four more rounds into his back.
By the time White darted for his Ford Explorer, Shelby Lane had prudently taken cover in a snow bank. She had followed White's path out of the bank as communicated by the bank's vice president-who himself had been following White and reporting on his progress to Edina dispatch via telephone-when she heard gunfire.
Once she was sure that she wasn't being targeted, Lane returned to her squad and drove around to a connecting driveway between FirStar and another commercial bank. Lane saw Blood's squad car. But Blood was nowhere in sight.
A trail of blood led to her fellow officer's bloody body. Lane rendered first aid and radioed for paramedics. She also silently prayed that Blood's size might work to his advantage when it came to his coming out of this nightmare alive.
The sight of White's Explorer turning northbound onto Valley View Road caught Officer Billy Moyer's eyes, but it was the driver's failure to acknowledge his lights and siren that made Moyer fixate on the vehicle. No suspect vehicle description had yet been broadcast, but given the time, proximity, and limited prospects in the area, Moyer felt more than a little sure that the Explorer was something deserving of his attentions. Moyer made a U-Turn and prepped himself for what he thought would be the beginning of a pursuit.
Moyer's intuitions proved right on everything save for one thing: any immediate intent on the driver's part to flee. Moyer hadn't been behind the Explorer for more than a quarter mile before it suddenly skidded to a stop and its driver's side door opened.