Virginia Beach bank robbers get 40 years for attempted cop killing

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Two Virginia Beach men will spend 40 years in jail for attempting to kill a state trooper, whose bullet-pocked windshield and computer are visible in this image, after they robbed a bank. (Photo courtesy Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office)

Two Virginia Beach men will spend 40 years in jail for attempting to kill a state trooper, whose bullet-pocked windshield and computer are visible in this image, after they robbed a bank. (Photo courtesy Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office)

Two Virginia Beach men will each spend 40 years in prison for bank robbery and attempted murder of a state trooper, the commonwealth’s attorney said Wednesday.

John Anthony Lewis, 43, and Rory Duke Diggs, 44, were sentenced to 63 years in prison, with 23 years suspended, for their role in the armed robbery of a Wells Fargo branch, 2125 General Booth Blvd., according to a release. They pled guilty on Oct. 21, 2015 to charges of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery and use of a firearm.

On Dec. 5, 2014, Lewis and Diggs went into the bank carrying weapons and wearing body armor, the release said. They made off with $34,391 and fled in a stolen Chevrolet Blazer. They drove to another stolen car, a Ford Explorer, which they had left nearby.

Virginia State Police Sergeant J. Pew, who didn’t know about the bank robbery, was in the process of calling in the Explorer as a stolen vehicle. When Lewis and Diggs arrived, they slammed on the brakes and threw the Blazer into reverse.

Pew chased in his unmarked car. When he stopped the suspects, Diggs got out of the Blazer and started shooting. Pew shot back. Lewis fired at Pew and drove off.

Diggs fled on foot. When he was arrested, he had the stolen $34,391 in his backpack and the gun he used to shoot at Pew. Lewis was arrested later that night.

The sentences imposed by Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci exceeded the high-end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines recommended a maximum of 19 years and 11 months, according to the release.

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