Fairwinds CU Teller Is Killed by Robber After She Couldn't Open CU's Vault

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A relatively new teller at Fairwinds CU was shot to death by a would-be robber trying to force her to open the cash vault just after opening last week.

The gunman was arrested minutes later when he tried to flee after his getaway car ran into a curb and blew a tire.

Captain Bernard Persha of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said the would-be robber, identified as 20-year-old Luc Termitus, Jr., was hiding behind the bushes and ambushed two employees, including the victim, Sue Ellen Gelsinger, 55, when they arrived to open the branch office at 7:30 am on Sept. 7, the day after the long Labor Day weekend. A third employee coming to work saw the disturbance and called police on her cell phone as the suspect forced the employees to open the doors to the branch.

Once inside, the suspect ordered Gelsinger to open the safe but when she told him she couldn't, he shot her, according to Persha. "He claimed the lady wasn't opening the safe fast enough so he went to hit her upside the head when the gun went off. He said it was an accident," Persha said Termitus told police during a confession.

Police responded to the third employee's 911 call almost immediately because they were patrolling the area for damage and potential looting after Hurricane Frances during the time, said Persha. "About two blocks away he (Termitus) ran into a curb and tore off the front fender and blew a tire," he said. The gun that was apparently used to shoot Gelsinger was found in the front seat of the car.

The suspect left the credit union without any cash because the employees were unable to open the vault, said Persha.

The credit union issued a brief statement after the killing saying, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sue Ellen's family and loved ones. We are thankful that the police were in the area and responded quickly."

Termitus was charged last week with first degree murder and armed robbery. He was being held in the Orange County Jail with no bail set.

Termitus had a long history of criminal offenses, including assault and battery and car theft, dating back to when he was just 13.

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