Escondido ATM shooting prompts reminders about safety

Off-duty SDPD officer shot while withdrawing money

SAN DIEGO - Monday's shooting of an off-duty San Diego police officer at an ATM in Escondido has exposed the vulnerability of people trying to withdraw money in public.

The officer was shot in the head and robbed of his wallet while at the San Diego County Credit Union ATM along South Escondido Boulevard.

A 10News crew set up a camera across the street from the ATM to see if people were more cautious the day after the officer was ambushed.

10News then took the video to Kevin LaChapelle, a former police officer and now a professor of criminal justice at National University.  

"[One man] is exposing how much cash he has in his wallet," said LaChapelle.

Of the 10 people seen on the video, only one man did right.

"It's just interesting about his posture… how he turns his body," said LaChapelle as he watched the video. "Yeah, and that's actually really good how he's forcing himself to not stay focused on the ATM."

LaChapelle says most people get locked onto the ATM screen and become oblivious to their surroundings, which invites trouble.

Because ATMs demand attention with pass codes and other prompts, rearview mirrors are provided. However, no one 10News saw used them.

LaChappelle said one man on the video was an example of how ATM safety begins before getting to the machine.

"He clearly puts himself in a vulnerable state because he's completely focused on his wallet right now," said LaChappelle. "He's counting his cash. You can see cash clearly... He's limping so someone could see him as someone who might not be able to fight back and he's so focused on his wallet and showing that he has money that even if he doesn't get the card in that someone could come up and just take his wallet out of his hand and run."

LaChapelle offered this advice: keep looking around between interactions with the ATM.  

He also suggested that people get into their car, close the door and drive away rather than leaving a door or window open and counting  money after an ATM withdrawal.

Print this article Back to Top