Suspect Bank Robber Shot Dead By Police After Nine-Mile Chase

OLD FORGE -- Officials in Lackawanna County held a news conference this evening on a police chase that spanned two counties that ended with police shooting the suspect dead.

State police say it started when John Souder, 40 of Old Forge, reportedly robbed a bank in Luzerne County then led police on a chase through several communities, including Pittston and Duryea, before finally crossing the county line into Old Forge.

Police swarmed South Main Street in Old Forge after finally tracking down a suspected bank robber who led them on a nine-mile chase through two counties.

State police say the pursuit started after Souder allegedly held up the M & T Bank at gunpoint in the Midway Shopping Plaza in Wyoming then fled through several communities finally crossing over into old forge before coming to a stop.

Investigators say Souder was an immediate threat to the public during that time.

“Multiple traffic violations were observed during the pursuit but yes definitely a risk to the public from the moment he walks in the bank armed,” said State Police Captain Chris Paris.

Police say Souder got out of his vehicle holding a handgun; officers opened fire.

Souder later died at the hospital.

The gunfire happened right in front of a busy gas station.

“I got out of my car and the next thing I heard was gunshots so I just ran in the store hoping that nothing came about,” said Brendan Wahl from Old Forge.

“I said to my sister, let's purchase a couple lottery tickets, maybe we'll get lucky, you know,” said Ramona Lyckowski of Kingston. “I hear, 'bang, bang, bang', I'm like, 'get down, get down get down!' it was like so terrifying, I was scared.”

Investigators say a handgun was recovered outside of the suspect’s vehicle and a bag of cash was found inside the car.

Witnesses at the bank told police Souder did get away with a bag of cash.

“We are looking for any witnesses that can help us with anything they may have seen or heard anywhere from the start of this incident which began down in Luzerne County, Wyoming Borough and terminated in Old Forge. Lackawanna County,” said Capt. Paris.

State police say Souder was the only one injured this afternoon.

They say the police involved in the shooting are on administrative leave during the investigation.


  • whatever831

    1. What the SUSPECTED robber did was wrong.
    Yet at the same time we have no idea what drove this person to do what they did. Maybe he just lost his job and saw no way out. Maybe he has a wife and children and couldn’t provide anything for them with the holidays coming up. I’m in no way excusing what took place, but I’m sorry that I’ve seen so many other people rob a bank – hell, price chopper was robbed with what was THOUGHT to be a gun. That person wasnt chased down and murdered. There are so many armed robberies, that I just don’t see why this particular one had the outcome it did – with so many people in buildings where this took place. There’s just certain things we won’t know. People want to say it’ll come out in the investigation – yea – because cops never sweep anything under for their own – or hide behind a badge. And I certainly don’t need a lecture on oh well if you ever need help from the cops. PLEASE…. every cop I’ve ever dealt with, was nothing but cocky and arrogant…. I’m not saying they’re all like that, but from some that I’ve been around. I have family members that are in the state police, but I will still have my opinions and views on what took place. I thought there would be a lot more people that would think this was an unnecessary outcome. Honestly whose to say that the guy was about to drop the gun, and perhaps a cop shot at him just by reaction? Seriously, some of you are so ignorant.

    • El Ma

      If someone is in dire straights, they can reach out to countless community organizations that will help them. Armed robbery isn’t some excusable choice. It is very unlikely that the deceased suspect was robbing the bank in order to pay for his child’s kidney transplant.

      Whatever makes a person make the stupid choices that they do, the choices are theirs, alone, and cannot be blamed upon anyone else. There are always other options, even if none of them aren’t perfect.

      I’ve seen it on this thread, and I’ve actually typed it on previous discussions, but this country isn’t perfect, and it never will be. But, it’s the best that we can do with our human limitations. This guy wasn’t a hero. He was a armed robber. That’s it.

    • Juan Motime

      Please tell me under what circumstances you have dealt with police? Did they come to your house to investigate something, did they pull you over, did you just say hello to them? How can you say it is an unnecessary outcome when you were not there? 50% of the “news” is either unvetted or missing information. In addition, in today’s world I can say with confidence that nothing will be “swept under” and if a cop was out of line, they will be held accountable. Read the national news and see what happened to the cop in Minnesota who shot a man–20 years in prison.

      • whatever831

        Hahahah! My experience. No I never got pulled over. No I never needed the police because I got in trouble. Although a few months ago, a family friend needed police for a hit and run and they couldn’t find the person. Well Facebook found them. And then low and behold the weasel had the least amount of charges pressed on him because he’s a friggin nark for the local department. So yea. There’s one example of great police work right there. Oh also, how’s the murder investigation going for Mr. Robert Barron, since the old forge police department contaminated the crime scene. So there you go, another fine example! PS, I did in fact state that the robbers actions were not excusable, and how do you know if his child was sick or not? You don’t. And neither do I. I still, and will believe it didn’t have to go this far. Peace to all, and tonall a goodnight.

      • Clark Griswold

        Hey, whatever831 you cannot predict the future and it may just be that you find yourself in a situation that you need help.

        So investigations didn’t go at a breakneck speed or to someone’s expectations. Did that person believe that theirs was the only incident under investigation? Seen you type on these boards before and you are still a jerkoff. STFU and go back to your video game.

      • whatever831

        Hey Clark! I don’t play video games. My child does. And I’ll stfu when I see fit. Till then I have the same freedom of speech that you do, until someone takes that right away from me – which most likely won’t be because of you. 😁 So glad that you’ve notice my comments that you care so much to personally address me. Lol

      • Nervous nelly

        Yeah, or like someone pumping gas or a baby sitting in a car seat or an attendant standing by the window of the store. Even people and animals that were at the animal hospital. I hardly dare to even go outside anymore.

    • El Ma

      Well, to make sure that innocent bystanders weren’t harmed, they should have just let the guy go and keep the money. Hopefully, the teller will be getting some trauma counseling because nothing is going to ever be the same for that person for the rest of their life.

      • Be brave

        I was shot at 3 times while crossing the street when I was 8 years old. The guy missed me. He was never caught. Yes, I was by myself in a small country town. Things were different at the time. (We thought) I was temporarily traumatized. I didn’t do any therapy. I’m fine today. It’s called mind over matter. People need to stop being so weak minded nowadays. Get a spine!

      • Clark Griswold

        That’s a pretty glib blanket statement, pal, and growing a spine has nothing to do with trauma. Some people who think that their spines are made of steel are suffering the most and they really think that they are handling life well.

  • Donamick

    It’s funny but it isn’t
    you hear that the man was a threat to the public the minute he walked into the bank and through several communities but never that he was a threat to the officers when he was pulled over and killed… Exterminated!

    • JP

      Ok. A hole let’s put you in between a gang banger with a stolen gun and the police. The police will wait until he fires first before returning fire , hopefully he’ll hit you first then the police can shoot him. One gang banger and another a hole gone.

  • Kate

    Why should the police be the first to get shot when they aren’t the ones that committed a felony and they weren’t the ones that led a dangerous chase? Why are people making this the police’s fault? What if he killed someone at the bank? What if he killed someone during the chase? What if he had a child in the car instead of money? What if he took an innocent person hostage? When is it ok for the police to do their job? If he didn’t want to (potentially) die, he should have stayed in the car.

    • JP

      Or exit the car with the gun in hand. He could of surrendered and left the gun in the car. Rule number 1, don’t point a gun unless you intend to use it. Thanks for doing your jobs guys.

    • Donamick

      Nothing nothing nothing gives anyone the right to kill anyone for no reason not even a right to kill someone who has just robbed a bank and is on the run and they are threatening but when they pull over and get out of their car and exterminated it doesn’t give the police the right to kill someone that person is to be subdued and run through the justice system fairly every single living human person in this community is not judge jury or God

      • Drop Your Weapon

        Domanick, take your ignorant millennial self and go join the Peace Corps and do something positive. Enlighten yourself about the Real World by volunteering your areas of expertise to the people of Zimbabwe. They don’t know too much about XBox or PlayStation, and they need people like you to school them on the nuances.

        In the Real World, it’s not like Grand Theft Auto, you boob. Do something illegal, RISK the consequences. Unless, of course, you want anarchy and you wouldn’t survive for a moment under those circumstances. Morons are the first to go, Domanick. Bye, bye.

      • whatever831

        Drop your weapon must be a saint lol. I agree wholeheartedly. Sooo because he did something illegal, he deserved to be shot and murdered. I am beyond amazed at the comments on here. When it comes out that the police are in wrong I am going to laugh all the way to the BANK… its even an issue for me if he was really shot in the head… what would have been so wrong with disabling him? And to the person that replied to me about adrenaline rush and aim…. as a mother I’m not trained to aid my child if he’s choking or in an instance of panic where my adrenaline has kicked in, but I respond accordingly… these officers are supposed to be TRAINED for circumstances just like this, if not worse! There is no excuse for the extent of what took place!

  • Joel

    This person pointed a gun at a teller and paid the price in the end. If the bank robber was your aunt or mom that he pointed the loaded gun at would you feel different? Oh of course not. The a hole didn’t drop the gun, so he gambled and lost. Yep. lol…innocent, and a suspect…right, no proof, everyone had their eyes closed and the cops just drove blind for 9 miles, decided to shoot up the PT cruiser just for kicks. Totally wrong of the cops, they should have waited for him to shoot first before firing…..yeah, that’s where we are at.

  • Ponder this

    Everyone is calling this robber a bad guy? Why, because he stole from our government? Our government steals from us everyday. I wouldn’t suppose all of you John haters would support shooting our government would you? I would hope not.

    • Shiek Yerboutti

      He pointed a gun at an innocent bank employee and demanded money. Even if your tinfoil hat world of this clown was only stealing from the government, it is still inexcusable to point a gun at an innocent person and threaten to shoot them for personal gain.

      • whatever831

        But in this same world you’re innocent until proven guilty. He was only a suspect. So I think it’s inexcusable to shoot at someone and KILL them…

      • Donamick

        @ WHATEVER831

        You’re the only one here who seems to understand how the American justice system really works or is supposed to

      • whatever831

        Hi Rachel A, I’m just curious who is posting negative comments versus their opinion on the matter? Oh btw, calling people over weight with no lives is such a positive comment 😉

    • Matthew

      Why don’t you comment on their Facebook page where we can see who you are? Gotta love this site … cowards make anonymous comments they probably wouldn’t make if it displayed their name. Laws are laws.

      • Rachel A

        I agree with you. At least if your going to bad mouth the police for doing their job then please have enough b*lls to put your name. I think the police did a great job. All the people who are putting negative comments are probably overweight and don’t have a life.

    • Ponder Your Navel

      You are a fool to even think like that. The money belongs to customers, idiot. Even if the facility is FDIC insured, someone has to pay for the losses and the funds don’t fall off of the fabled Money Tree. Idiot. Idiot.

      When someone points a loaded firearm into the face of another person, this is what contributes the erosion of our Rights in this country. Was this upstanding citizen a registered gun owner? I think not. Was this confused or underprivileged citizen contributing to our society and his community? I seriously doubt it. He made a choice and paid the ultimate price as a consequence. You don’t like it in this country, then move along and head off to the Republic Of Congo.

    • Cookie Cutter Shark

      I truly don’t understand your stance on this. Your views sound like a sociology professor’s ramblings about how rules are meant to be broken. You’re dead wrong. We may not have a perfect or honest government, but people are doing everything that they can to get into this country. Don’t like it? Go to Syria and see how far your vegetarian eating, legging wearing, privilege checking, latte sipping self would last. Do it. I will bet that people would contribute to a one way ticket for you to leave.

  • Deplorable

    Dont move! Walk torwards me! Dont move! Bang bang bang. Gang of complete morons, i carry a 9mm everyday and i have never been compelled to shoot every dog and human because i was in fear for my life.

  • Christina Renfer (@cjr721)

    I understand that he robbed a bank, led a chase throughout several municipalities. What I don’t understand is, why an immediate shoot to kill?? Was he asked to drop the weapon and he didn’t, did he aim that weapon at police or worse fire towards police??

    • Bdubs

      Because he jumped out of the car with a gun. Does he have to shoot at the police before they are allowed to shoot back ?

    • Sargeant Stadenko

      I’ll repeat the comment that made below. You were not there, and therefore did not see what happened. Please do not judge or assume something that the police did wrong. If it was unjustified, it will come out in the investigation.

    • Drop Your Weapon

      Christina, honey, if you are driving away from the scene of an alleged crime and armed with a handgun, when Law Enforcement Officers tell you to stop, put the firearm down, and put your hands on the steering wheel, YOU DO IT. For crissakes, why is the CRIMINAL such a flipping hero, here???? If the man wasn’t a menace to YOUR society, he wouldn’t have been in that bank to begin with, much less leading police on a 9-mile car chase. In the legal terminology, that is called MULTIPLE FELONIES.

      This isn’t a scenario of overreaching one’s legal boundaries. This is about a guy who pointed a loaded gun – y’know, the object that you so desperately want to banish? – into someone’s face, took money, sped off, and refused to comply. What do you want? Cyborg officers? Ones that don’t have empathy or compassion or reason? Ones that are just programmed to do what YOU think is right or what the developer thinks is right? God, you special snowlfakes make me sick.

      Stop feeling, Christina,dear, and start thinking.

  • whatever831

    I don’t understand… even though he had a weapon, that was automatic means to have a full blown shoot-out? There was businesses RIGHT there, what if those bullets richocheted or hit people? There was a gas station a few feet back. And honestly, about 20 cop cars in close range, and that many bullet holes are all over the vehicle? What the hell? I agree, if you have that much of a bad aim, or you’re that trigger happy, I don’t think you should be a part of the police force. What about warnings? Now we’re just going to shoot just because. I don’t think the guy had to lose his life over this. Not to mention some chase. My husband was at the railroad tunnel right as the guy went by behind a red vehicle, he said they were going like 20 miles an hour. I just think this could have had a much different ending. How ridiculous.

    • Bdubs

      Maybe he should have thought about the consequences before he robbed a bank with a gun then led police on a 9 miles chase, you moron!

    • D

      Your watching too many movies if you think its point shoot and hit target. Having been trained by police on a shooting range ill tell you it isnt that easy. Adrenaline and other factors kick in. Of course most of the people in this area are too ignorant too understand any of this so lets just keep bashing the local and state police…

      • Andre

        To* is the correct English to use. Also something tells me you’re ignorant about the definition of the word ignorant.

      • Clark Griswold

        Andre if you don’t know what the word IGNORANT means, don’t use it. In the context above it was perfectly within an appropriate application and people who are ignorant of the Law cannot use that as an excuse to commit crimes.

        Ignorant means uneducated, illiterate, or lacking in knowledge. It can also mean rude, but lowborn and ignorant individuals have bastardized that term along with DISRESPECT to obliterate its definition.

    • Sargeant Stadenko

      1). You were not there, so do not judge or assume what the police did or did not do. 2). If you or your husband can tell how fast a car is going, you should put that talent to good use. 3). “What if” the bullets that he fired ricocheted? 4). I was not there, but the police had a split second to make a decision. 5). Here’s a news flash, I’ll be that the information that WNEP has provided, is a best, sketchy.

    • Ponder Your Navel

      So you believe that the bank robber should have been able to walk into a bank, put a loaded gun in someone’s face, take money that didn’t belong to him, walk out and drive away to get a coffee at Starbluck’s? What is WRONG with you?

      Have you ever been the victim of a crime? Have you ever needed help? If not, count yourself lucky and hope that you never, ever need to call for help. People like you need to be schooled in how Real Life works. Do something bad, pay the consequences. Brandish a firearm at police officers, get dead. Very simple. Break the Law, pay the price. Crystal clear. What is wrong with you that you can’t put these concepts together? Must be one of those retarded millennials.

    • Shiek Yerboutti

      I’m pretty sure as long as you don’t rob a bank, go on a police chase, and then hop out of a car with a gun, you stand a pretty good chance of making it through the day alive when interacting with the cops.

      • PA-ME-A

        You’re acting like one officer shot 20 times…there were multiple agencies responding and probably 20+ officers…clearly they all felt threatened if more than one decided this use of force was necessary…

      • The Jeep Guy

        Hey TOMTOM, Any time you would like to take the PSP shooting coarse I can make that happen. Then we will see what really happens. Believe me it is not a day at the beach. That is unless your Dirty Harry. Come to think of that, we could use a few of them.

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