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Suspect in bank robbery, shootout had been out of jail 4 days

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, at 6:21 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 2:02 p.m.

The man who is a suspect in Tuesday’s bank robbery, shootout and apparent kidnapping of a woman and three children had been released from jail four days earlier.

Jason Michael Gleason, 30, was released Friday from Reno County’s jail after posting a $2,000 bond, a jail officer said Wednesday. He had been arrested earlier in the day for failure to appear in court on a charge of trafficking contraband in a correctional institution, according to jail records.

After a string of events that stretched over 75 miles and nearly 12 hours, Gleason was arrested about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday near Gypsum, which is about 20 miles southeast of Salina. That followed a three-hour manhunt involving dozens of law enforcement officers, K9 units and an aerial search.

Gleason was booked into Saline County’s jail shortly after midnight on charges of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder, four counts of kidnapping and an outstanding warrant, Saline County Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said.

A woman and one of the children in the green SUV that Gleason was driving were injured by gunfire, KBI spokesman Kyle Smith said. The woman was taken by an air ambulance to a Wichita hospital and the child was treated in Salina, he added.

Their conditions are unknown, Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Ben Gardner said.

Gleason is considered a suspect Tuesday morning’s robbery of the Firstbank of Chase in Rice County, about 95 miles northwest of Wichita. The FBI hadn’t filed bank robbery charges against him as of Wednesday.

“We’re still investigating,” said Bridget Patton, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s office in Kansas City.

A man with a weapon demanded cash at the bank and left in a green SUV with a temporary tag, according to the FBI. A vehicle matching that description was spotted traveling east on K-4 just south of Salina by a highway patrol officer shortly before 6:30 p.m.

A chase followed before the SUV went out of control on a dirt road and crashed just south of Gypsum. The suspect and the trooper exchanged gunfire, Gardner said.

The trooper was injured from his car’s flying glass and was later treated and released from a hospital, Gardner said.

While the woman and three children remained at the vehicle, the SUV driver fled into the surrounding countryside, the KBI’s Smith said.

The KBI is still investigating the shooting to determine how the woman and child were shot.

The highway patrol hadn’t determined what the SUV driver’s relationship was with the woman and children, but the kidnapping charges indicate they were hostages, other law enforcement officials said. It’s not clear when the woman and children became part of the incident.

The patrol used a plane and a helicopter in the manhunt, while officers searched the area on foot. Gleason already was injured when he was found by officers, but Smith said he wasn’t shot.

“He had injuries of some form,” he said. “Maybe he got torn up from hiding in the bushes.”

Gleason was taken to jail about 2½ hours after his arrest.

Gleason has been in and out of jail since 2001, according to Kansas Department of Correction records. He was convicted of attempted aggravated robbery in 2004 in Reno County.

Starting in late 2004 through 2010, he was cited for 24 violations on disciplinary reports while in prison, ranging from theft and fighting to possessing dangerous contraband.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or at rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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