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Man Killed By Police Following Alleged Robbery In Morris Heights

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A Bronx man is shot to death after police say he mugged a man at gunpoint inside a bank. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

A gunpoint robbery inside a Bronx bank vestibule Thursday led to a man's deadly encounter with police officers who were on his tail.

Police say 44-year-old James Torres was shot to death after trying to escape officers by sprinting into 1985 Davidson Avenue, a few blocks from the Chase Bank where he allegedly swiped another man's cash and an iPhone just after 4 a.m. Thursday.

"I was awake. I was watching a movie, and the movie had just finished when I heard a lot of yelling, a lot of running, and then that's when I heard the gunshots," said one person. "And it was really, really close."

The 24-year-old victim had stepped into the bank to escape the cold while waiting for a bus on Burnside Avenue when police say he was mugged.

Officers flagged down by the victim sent out a description of Torres, who was quickly spotted while fleeing down Jerome Avenue near West 179th Street. Police say he flashed a .380 caliber gun as he ran toward the front door of the Davidson Avenue apartment building.

A struggle with several officers followed, ending with what police say were two shots into Torres' chest. It jolted those who live in the building.

"The door was open or something like that," said one person. "He had nowhere to go. His back was to the wall, and like I said, I'm not too sure what happens from there, but the next thing you know, he was on the floor."

Police say they recovered the gun seen at left from Torres.

According to police statistics, the 46th Precinct experienced a 13 percent spike in robberies in 2013, with 427 to date, up from 378 last year.

Area residents said that they're not shocked that there's crime in their neighborhood, but they were disgusted with what resulted from the robbery.

"We all have to live in this world together," said one person. "We work, we try to do the right thing, but you got some people that just think it's OK just to take what they don't work for."

"I think they need to grow up and cut all of that out," said another. "It's time to do different things and go in a different direction."

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