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Phillip Hutchinson

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Cause of death
Gunshot wound

Phillip Hutchinson httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb9

Full Name
Phillip L. Hutchinson

March 19, 1963 (

9 February 1988, Denver, Colorado, United States

Phillip L. Hutchinson (March 19, 1963 – February 9, 1988) was an American bank robber, known for his 1988 rampage in Denver, Colorado, in which he robbed a bank, murdered a police officer and held a man hostage. He was chased by police and a news helicopter that filmed his getaway in one of the first ever recorded police chases. Hutchinson was eventually stopped when the pilot of the news helicopter landed it in front of his hijacked pickup truck. Hutchinson was then shot dead by police when they surrounded him. A film made in 1991, called The Chase, was about his crime spree.


Robbery and chase

On Tuesday, February 9, 1988, in Denver, Colorado, at around 11:20 a.m., Phillip Hutchinson, a career criminal and escaped convict from a Texas prison, entered the Rio Grande Operating Credit Union office armed with a handgun and robbed the teller at gunpoint. He then fled in a brown Chevrolet K5 Blazer at high speeds of up to sixty-miles-per-hour. A KCNC-TV news helicopter that had been filming aerial shots for a local newscast was informed of the robbery and ensuing police chase. They headed toward the scene and caught Hutchinson fleeing through the streets of Denver. Hutchinson drove recklessly at high speeds and forced other vehicles off the road including police cruisers. Hutchinson fled northbound on Tennyson Street and headed directly towards an unmarked police cruiser. The two detectives inside the vehicle attempted to escape. Detective Robert "Bob" Wallis, who had been inside the vehicle, was struck by Hutchinson as he attempted to run across the street. Wallis's body was sent flying and he was killed instantly. Hutchinson continued to flee and didn't stop. He escaped from the police momentarily but then crashed his Blazer into a tree after losing control of the vehicle. He then fled on foot with the stolen money and handgun to a nearby parking lot. Hutchinson then spotted a young woman with a baby in a blue car. He attempted to hijack the vehicle and use them as hostages, but the woman drove off before he could break into her vehicle. As she fled, Hutchinson opened fire with his handgun on the vehicle. He hit the car but missed hitting anyone inside the vehicle. Hutchinson then fled to a nearby house where he encountered seventy-three-year-old John Laurienti. He held him hostage at gunpoint and forced Laurienti to drive him in Laurienti's green pickup truck. Hutchinson threatened to kill Laurienti if he made any attempt to alert the police of his presence. By this point, only the news helicopter pilot, Mike Silva, and the cameraman, Jim Stair, knew of where Hutchinson was. They were unable to get through to the police and inform them of where Hutchinson was located. As Laurienti drove past a police car, Hutchinson ducked down in the passenger seat and the pickup drove straight past the cruiser, with the police completely unaware he was in the vehicle.


Realising the danger of Hutchinson escaping and potentially killing his hostage, Silva landed the helicopter on the road directly in front of the pickup and stopped it from going any further. Hutchinson ordered Laurienti to ram the helicopter, but after hesitating, Hutchinson fired through the front windshield at the helicopter. Police officers were then alerted to Hutchinson's whereabouts and surrounded him from all sides. One officer rammed the pickup to stop Hutchinson firing off any more rounds. The helicopter flew off and landed nearby. Stair then exited the helicopter and filmed the officers on foot as they surrounded Hutchinson. Hutchinson attempted to shoot at the police and kill Laurienti but before he could fire off any more rounds, the police opened fire and shot Hutchinson dead in the pickup truck. Laurienti was then pulled from the truck unharmed. Stair caught Hutchinson's death on camera. Silva was criticized by some for getting involved. However, police officers and the KCNC-TV director, along with many others, praised him as a hero who had saved the day.

Hutchinson died at the age of twenty-four and was buried in Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas.

Hutchinson's rampage and death have been widely reported in the media and have been featured in many documentaries on television. Most famously, footage of his death was featured in: World's Scariest Police Chases, Police Stop!, Rescue 911, and the 1993 shockumentary film, Traces of Death.

A film made in 1991, called The Chase, is a ninety-three-minute film directed by Paul Wendkos about the robbery and events which led to Hutchinson's death. Hutchinson was played by film actor, Casey Siemaszko. Also starring in the film was the late Ben Johnson as Laurienti, Robert Beltran as Silva and Barry Corbin as Wallis. The film also starred: Gerry Bamman, Megan Follows, Sheila Kelley, Ricki Lake, Anthony Tyler Quinn and Gailard Sartain.


Phillip Hutchinson Wikipedia