August 7, 1996 in Nation/World

Teenager Dies Shielding Sister

Associated Press

Nicholas Morris went with his sister to the mall so she could cash her paycheck. He gave his life shielding her from a gunbattle between an armored car guard and two bank robbers.

“He loved me enough to push me out of the way and take that bullet,” Cathy Morris, 19, said Tuesday. “My brother left this world taking care of his sister.”

At least 14 rounds were fired in the shootout inside the Deptford Mall on Monday, which also killed one of the robbers and critically injured the guard as well as a 15-year-old girl hit in the head by a richocheting bullet.

Gloucester County Prosecutor Harris Y. Cotton said three weapons were recovered and at least two suspects remain at large.

The Brooks armored car guard, 22-year-old Rudolph Matlack, and the wounded girl, Maureen Lavin, underwent surgery Monday and were in critical condition Tuesday.

Morris, 17, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound tackle on the Glassboro High School football team, was being courted by several Division I colleges, Athletic Director Bob Barratt said. He too was pronounced dead at the scene.

The FBI was trying to determine if the robbery was connected to a half-dozen armored car holdups this year in Philadelphia and one in Mount Holly, said Agent Sheila Horan.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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