NEW YORK (AP) — An ex-convict who was shot after a botched Manhattan bank robbery says he understands why police officers fired.

Police say John Daniel Stolarz told them if he were a policeman, he’d have done the same thing. Stolarz was in stable condition Friday.

Police say he tried to rob a Chase bank next to Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station on Thursday. Uniformed officers followed him as he fled without any money. Police say he was shot in the leg after he refused to drop a knife.

Pedestrians in the busy neighborhood were ducking for cover.

Stolarz, whose nickname was “Johnny Shades,” was released Wednesday from a federal prison in New Jersey. He’d served 21 years for armed bank robberies in Utah, Louisiana, Washington and Nevada.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Watch & Listen LIVE