BILLINGS – A Nebraska judge set a trial date after finding the Roundup man, known to the FBI as the “AK-47 Bandit,” is competent to stand trial for allegedly shooting a Nebraska state trooper last summer.

Richard Gathercole recently pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Nebraska to six felony charges for allegedly firing shots at a trooper during a chase. The trooper had attempted to stop Gathercole for having an obscured license plate.

The FBI believes Gathercole is the elusive serial bank robber who targeted at least five banks in four states.

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He is referred to as the AK-47 Bandit because he used that weapon in the bank robberies, according to the FBI.

The suspect was at large for five years before he was arrested in Musselshell County for a DUI.

When federal authorities made the connection, they raided Gathercole’s home in Roundup and found explosives and several firearms.

Those weapons match the ones used in the bank heists.

Gathercole is likely to face additional charges in the other states, including shooting a California police officer.

He’s been held in federal custody since his initial arrest.

Reporting by Aja Goare for MTN News