News and Press Releases

Repeat Offender Had Only Been Out of Prison a Few Weeks When he Robbed West Seattle Bank

July 10, 2009

DOUGLAS MICHAEL COX, 51, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 235 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Armed Bank Robbery. COX was arrested July 1, 2008, following a bank robbery and high speed chase from West Seattle to downtown Seattle. COX was ultimately shot by officers after his car was boxed in and he aimed a pellet gun in the direction of the officers. COX pleaded guilty April 14, 2009. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said, “This was an extraordinary crime in its impact on tellers, on people in downtown Seattle, and on the police officers who were required to use deadly force.... I want to be very clear the victims in this case are also the law enforcement officers... who were put in very, very difficult circumstances.”

According to records filed in the case, COX and Kevin Palmer began planning to rob a bank in June 2008. On July 1, 2009, COX entered the Wells Fargo branch on California Avenue SW armed with a pellet gun. COX wore a wig, sunglasses, gloves and had a dark substance smeared on his face. COX ordered a teller to open the door to her station; when she refused he jumped over the counter, pointing the pellet gun at her and shoving her aside. COX took money from two drawers and fled the bank. He jumped into a car driven by Palmer. Police spotted the men in the car a few blocks from the bank. The car sped off over the West Seattle Bridge with police in pursuit. In the First Hill area of Seattle, Palmer bailed out of the car and COX moved into the driver’s seat. COX sped into downtown Seattle where ultimately he was boxed in by a traffic jam. Police surrounded the car and ordered COX out of the car. COX raised the pellet gun, and officer opened fire.

COX has prior convictions for bank robbery in 1998 and 2002.

In asking for the lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown highlighted the danger COX created in the community. “While inside of the Wells Fargo, he screamed and threatened the bank tellers, pointing his mock firearm at one and shoving one out of the way so he could take the money. He then led police on a dangerous chase from West Seattle into the downtown area, fleeing authorities across the highways and busy downtown streets. Once he was finally cornered by law enforcement he refused to surrender, raising his weapon in a manner that caused police to fire on him and the vehicle,” Mr. Brown wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Brown and Andrew Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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