The man who staged a St. Patrick's Day bank robbery in a leprechaun costume and died during a police shootout also held up a bank three days before Christmas in a Santa suit, police said Thursday.
Investigators in the Nashville suburb of Gallatin said information from the FBI linked David Christopher Cotton, 20, of Brentwood to the December robbery.
FBI Supervisor Special Agent Scott Augenbaum told The Associated Press that investigators found a Santa suit at Cotton's home, and that the suspect made similar comments during both robberies.
The man police identified as the getaway driver, 20-year-old Western Kentucky University student Jonathan Ryan Skinner, also was killed. Police said they think Cotton shot himself to death as officers surrounded the two in a field after a car and foot chase.
Patrol car video of the chase released Thursday shows one of the suspects leaning out of the passenger window of the getaway car and firing several shots at police on the street of a subdivision.
At least one round strikes the front of the car, kicking up a shower of metal and glass. Police said the shots disabled the vehicle, and the video shows a string of other police cars giving chase.
Police said the two ditched their vehicle and ran into a field near a subdivision where they died.
Officers don't know how the two men were acquainted, police Lt. Kate Novitsky said.
Bob Skipper, director of Western Kentucky University media relations, confirmed that Skinner was a junior majoring in meteorology at the college in Bowling Green, Ky., about 80 miles north of Nashville. He said Skinner also was from the Nashville suburb of Brentwood.
First State Bank was held up Wednesday afternoon by a man who wore a St. Patrick's Day costume and carried a large-caliber gun, said Sgt. Bill Storment, a spokesman for the Gallatin Police Department.
Sharon Riehemann, manager of the Fifth Third Bank next door, said the man — wearing a green top hat, vest and shorts and a fake brown beard and wig — had come into her bank a few minutes before the robbery, but then left.
He walked toward the other bank, and then a couple of minutes later he ran out of the bank with a blue bag in his hands, Riehemann said.
No one at the bank was injured.
On Dec. 22, a man dressed in a Santa suit — including hat, beard and mustache — held up a SunTrust Bank in Nashville, demanding money from the teller at gunpoint.
Associated Press writers Kristin M. Hall in Nashville and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this story.
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