By Lynda Jones
Thursday morning, Dec. 17, the lobby of the Lovelady State Bank was cheerfully decorated for the Christmas season and regular customers came and went, conducting their business as usual.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., however, the Christmas spirit quickly turned to terror as three armed suspects entered the bank, located on SH 19 in Lovelady.
The Houston County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and Trinity County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) quickly responded and schools in the area were placed on lock-down.
Houston County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) Chief Deputy G. P. Shearer reported the suspects absconded with an undisclosed amount of money and headed south on SH 19 into Trinity.
Shearer further stated that the suspect's vehicle was spotted in Trinity and the suspects "bailed out of the car" and fled on foot.
According to a Facebook post by TCSO Sheriff Woody Wallace, "The criminals jumped out of the car with weapons and Deputy (Wayne) Huffman fired a shot. One of the suspects collapsed and was taken into custody. Two fled on foot."
That suspect was not shot, according to HCSO officials.
Two women were injured, though not seriously, during the robbery and later taken to Houston County Medical Center in Crockett for treatment and released. Sources alleged the women were struck in the head with the butt of a gun.
Shearer stated, "One person is in custody and he is currently in the hospital in Trinity, Texas, for medical issues. His name will be released upon being booked into jail."
The hospitalized suspect was not shot, an HCSO official stated Friday, Dec. 18, but is hospitalized due to a medical condition.
Trinity County authorities believe the suspects are connected to the Oct. 26 robbery of First Community Bank on SH 19 South in Trinity.
Two clerks at that bank also were assaulted and went to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Houston County Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies that came to assist with the search effort. Those included Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace and Trinity County Sheriff's Office, Trinity County Constable(s), Trinity Police Department, TDCJ K-9 (Scent-Specific and Tracking Unit) from the Eastham Prison Unit, TDCJ Office of Inspector General, Texas Rangers, Texas Game Wardens, FBI, and DEA. for air/helicopter support.
The Crockett Police Department sent their SWAT/Forced Entry Team to assist as well, and Houston County Constable Precinct 2 Red Smith assisted with perimeter.
Bobbitt extends special thanks to Houston County Constable Precinct 1 Morris Luker, the Crockett Police Department and the Grapeland Police Department for assisting with calls in the county during Thursday's manhunt.
Lovelady State Bank is a member bank of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). When federally insured banks are robbed, the FBI. and Texas Rangers are called in to investigate.
Anyone with information about the suspects and/or the robbery is asked to call the HCSO at 936-544-2862 or the TCSO at 936-642-1424. Authorities warn both fugitives are considered "armed and dangerous".