A would-be bank robber who transformed a routine stick-up into a shootout with a security guard and a federal agent was sentenced Wednesday to almost 32 years in prison.
Eric L. Smith, 34, of Kansas City had been out of prison for only a month when he entered the Blue Ridge Bank and Trust in Raytown on June 23, 2012, armed with a .40-caliber handgun.
Seeing an armed security guard sitting behind a desk, Smith demanded his weapon. The guard responded with three shots, forcing Smith to retreat outside and into a bustling Saturday morning parking lot.
As the guard and an off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration special agent, who’d been in the bank for personal business, pursued. Smith turned, fired back and made his escape.
Authorities later arrested Smith after an anonymous tipster called the TIPS Hotline.
After reviewing Smith’s criminal history, which included assault and two aggravated robberies, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips imposed a sentence of 31 years and 10 months.
“The only way I can do my part to protect the public from your violent tendencies is to impose a significant sentence,” Phillips said.