Former newspaper reporter charged in Savannah bank robbery

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A former newspaper reporter was arrested Monday after he tried to rob a Savannah bank with a sawed-off shotgun, the FBI said.

Donald Lowery, 52, walked into a Bank South branch on Savannah’s suburban south side with the shotgun in his belt and demanded money, said William Kirkconnell, the FBI’s supervisory senior special agent in Savannah.

A bank customer grappled with Lowery and restrained him until police arrived, Kirkconnell said. He said Lowery was ‘‘seriously injured’’ during the robbery attempt and was being treated at a Savannah hospital, but he would not say how Lowery got hurt or describe his injuries.

‘‘He was brandishing a sawed-off shotgun, which was attached to his belt, and was heavily armed with nearly 30 rounds of ammunition,’’ Kirkconnell said.

Lowery, 52, left his job earlier this year as a reporter at the Savannah Morning News, where he covered neighboring Effingham County. According to his profile on the newspaper’s web site, Lowery had worked there since 1989.

Stacy Jennings, the newspaper’s marketing director, would not say specifically when or why Lowery left his job there. Executive Editor Susan Catron, a former managing editor at the Ledger-Enquirer, declined to comment.

‘‘We’re very sorry for his family,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘That’s all we can really say,’’

Lowery was charged with one count of bank robbery. Kirkconnell would not comment on Lowery’s motive, and he declined to describe Lowery’s injuries.