Author: Margo Rohrbacher, PIO
Date: December 13, 2013 9:53 PM

Suspected Robber Identified

San Rafael, CA – December 13, 2013.  The suspect in Wednesday’s bank robbery and pursuit has been identified as Christopher Jay Wootton.  Wootton was shot by police after fleeing from a deputy, crashing his getaway car near Northgate Mall, and then confronting officers with a handgun.

Wootton, age 60 and a Larkspur resident, was shot by a Marin County Sheriff’s deputy after a vehicle pursuit ended in San Rafael.  On Wednesday, December 11th, just after 9:00 a.m. a Novato branch of Bank of the West on Grant Avenue was robbed. The suspect and vehicle description were broadcast to all Marin County law enforcement agencies.  A  Marin County Sheriff’s deputy saw the suspect’s car, a silver Saturn matching the description, travelling south on Highway 101 in San Rafael.  The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop and a brief pursuit ensued on city streets, ending when Wootton was involved in a minor collision in the 600 block of Las Gallinas Avenue.  He got out of his car and ran across the street with a gun in his hand.  Wootton confronted the pursuing deputy, who then fired his service weapon and wounded him.  Wootton received non-life threatening injuries and underwent surgery the same day.  He remains in the hospital and is expected to be there about a week.

The deputy involved is a 7 ½ year veteran of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and is on paid administrative leave.  The San Rafael Police Department is the lead agency handling the officer involved shooting and it is being investigated per the Marin County Police Chiefs’ protocol.

There has been much speculation in the press as to whether Wootton is the so-called “Cotton Ball Bandit”, responsible for a series of Marin bank robberies that began exactly one year ago.  The extensive investigation into the bank robberies is on-going. The multi-jurisdictional inquiry is comprised of four agencies – San Rafael PD, Novato PD, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and Central Marin Police Authority – and includes 11 robberies.  Investigators are working on the link between the individual crimes and determining if they can be connected to Wootton.  All the cases will be complied together and sent to the Marin County District Attorney for review.  

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call San Rafael Police at (415) 485-3000. Tips can also be made online at

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Last Modified: December 13, 2013 10:05 EST (by Holm)