Bank Robbery Ends Fatally for Alleged Member of Assault Gun Bandits

Apr. 29--It was as though the Beasley brothers saw their fate, and didn't want to run anymore. So one at a time, and about 50 yards from one another Friday morning, they turned to face the oncoming deputies in a plaza west of Boynton Beach, the Sheriff's Office said.

Joshua Beasley, apparently unarmed, turned and got into a struggle for the deputy's gun, sheriff's Sgt. Pete Palenzuela said. Three other deputies were closing in as Beasley, 25, was turning the deputy's gun toward his torso. One of the other deputies fired at Beasley at close range but the fight continued. Another deputy, also at close range, fired and Beasley fell to the ground. He died from his wounds in front of the Summerville at Boynton Beach assisted-living facility off Jog Road and Le Chalet Boulevard. The deputy who had been fighting with him also fired when Beasley let go.

"He was passing out from the adrenaline rush and, as he was passing out, he had a reflexive action and he shot," Palenzuela said.

It is unclear when, but another deputy also fired at Beasley from a distance.

"Once there's a life-and-death struggle you have to do what you have to to preserve your life," Palenzuela said.

Beasley's brother, Brandon, 23, was running with a moneybag from the bank and two fully loaded guns: a Tech 9 and AR-15 assault rifle. He reached into the moneybag to get the rifle and was turning around when a deputy shot him, investigators said.

None of the deputies' names were released Saturday.

"As a courtesy to their families to let them decompress over the weekend," Palenzuela said. They remain on standard administrative leave.

Brandon Beasley was brought to Delray Medical Center and is expected to survive, investigators said. The Beasleys' mother, Victoria Beasley, doesn't believe the Sheriff's Office and said her boys were running, not picking a fight with deputies.

The FBI said the brothers are two of at least three men known as the Assault Gun Bandits, who since December 2004 have robbed 10 banks in Broward and Palm Beach counties. They wear black clothes and ski masks and carry assault rifles.

"It's a step in the right direction but certainly we want to get everyone in the group before we call it a total success," FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.

The 11th bank they robbed about 10 a.m. Friday was the Washington Mutual branch at 9863 Lake Worth Road, west of Lake Worth, the Sheriff's Office said. They ordered about 10 people to the floor in the vault, then ran out with moneybags, the Sheriff's Office said. They escaped in a stolen pickup truck, and then switched to a stolen Hyundai Elantra.

When deputies tried to pull over the speeding Elantra west of Boynton Beach, the men sped off until they crashed into a fire hydrant on Jog Road, just south of Le Chalet Boulevard. The suspects ran into the plaza near Aberdeen Professional Center, carrying the money and guns, the Sheriff's Office said.

Both Lauderhill brothers had criminal histories. Joshua Beasley had served time in prison twice, once on drug and grand theft auto charges and once on gun charges, state records show. He also had an open case on drug charges.

Though Victoria Beasley said the boys made a "stupid" mistake Friday, she said the men, each with a young daughter, were no criminal masterminds.

"They made a silly mistake out of desperation and now they're trying to link them to every unsolved robbery," she said. "They didn't have to kill my son like that. They didn't have to kill him."

Victoria Beasley said her sons had a mobile auto-detailing business and Brandon Beasley went for a job interview at a warehouse Friday morning. The brothers were extremely close, she said.

"They are good men," she said. "They just made a horrible mistake and they paid dearly. And one paid the highest price he could -- his life."

She said that she spoke to Brandon Beasley in the hospital but that he was too medicated to talk much.

"My first thought is to bury my son and make sure my other one is taken care of," she said.

Joshua Beasley will probably be buried next to his brother, Gregory Beasley, at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, in Fort Lauderdale, Victoria Beasley said.

Gregory Beasley, 26, also of Lauderhill, was shot to death in June. His body was found after being set on fire in an alley on Lytle Street, in West Palm Beach. The crime remains unsolved.

Staff Writer Peter Franceschina contributed to this report.

Jerome Burdi can be reached at or 561-243-6531.

Copyright (c) 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.