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Bank Robbery Leads To Chase And Deadly Shooting

It all started with a 911 call just after 11 this morning from the Guaranty Bank at 6910 South Broadway in Tyler, saying they had just been robbed.

The chase and standoff ended a few miles south of there in the Irish Meadows subdivision, a block west of Highway 69. It was there that officers shot Peggy Jo Tallas, 60, of Garland.

Meanwhile, traffic was backed up for more than a mile. Shot and killed by officers less than 20 minutes after robbing the bank, Tallas lay in the front lawn of a home at the corner of Kilrush Street and Irish Moss Drive.

Just minutes before, officers say she had parked her Winnebago RV there.

"The suspect, I believe, did exit the vehicle," Officer Don Martin, of the Tyler Police Department, said. "She displayed the weapon in the officers' direction. The officers returned fire, and the suspect was shot."

Police later determined the weapon was a gun replica, not a real gun. They say Tallas had been convicted of three Dallas-area robberies in the early 1990's.

Today, dozens of law enforcement officers were involved, including the FBI, Tyler police, state troopers, and Smith County constable and sheriff's deputies.

It all began just a few of miles north of there, where a couple in the Wal-Mart parking lot saw the suspect come out of the Guaranty Bank across the street. KLTV got an exclusive interview with the Smiths.

"We noticed a person walking out wearing just all black and had on a hat, sunglasses, a scarf, it looked like," Chris Smith said. "All of a sudden, I could see a red cloud of smoke coming out of her bag. I would assume that maybe they had just robbed the bank. I pulled in, turned around, followed them, and about the time, we called 911."

"Of course, I was scared to death, but I just knew, it's a part of your duty as a human being," Smith's wife said.

"I was scared for their safety, more than anything," Chris said. "We told the kids to get down and made sure we just kept our distance. So there was obviously fear."

Fortunately, no one else was injured.

Late this afternoon, Tallas' body and the Winnebago she drove were taken from the scene.

Four Tyler police officers fired shots at Tallas. The police department says all of them have been put on paid administrative leave. It's done as a procedure, while the department investigates.

Meanwhile, the local FBI is looking into whether Tallas was involved in any robberies in East Texas.

Julie Tam, reporting.


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