HOUSTON, Texas – A suspected armored car robber was shot and killed by Houston police officers during a multi-jurisdictional sting operation. Houston is reportedly the number-one city on the country for armored car robberies.
An armored car being staffed by Houston police officers approached an Amegy bank on the city’s north side. The armored car was part of a sting operation attempting to stop a series of robberies that have been increasing in numbers over the past few years, KHOU CBS11 reported.
At about 11 a.m., three would-be robbers approached the Amegy Bank where the “bait armored car” was in place. One suspect armed with a rifle was observed to be in a sniper position to take out the driver of the armored car, according to police officials. He was reportedly in a vehicle in the parking lot of a neighboring apartment complex.
Officers engaged the man who reportedly opened fire on them. Police officers shot the suspect and then attempted to save his life. The suspect was transported to a local trauma center where he died from his wounds.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) December 7, 2016
“If a life is going to be taken, I’m just grateful it’s the life of someone that is going to kill one of my cops or two of my cops,” newly appointed Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters. “When you shoot at the police, you can be assured you are going to be shot at back.”
Two other suspects were arrested at the scene without incident. No officers were injured during the sting operation. A fourth suspect fled the scene but was later taken into custody, officials stated.
“He was going to kill a man who is probably getting paid 20 bucks an hour to try to feed his family during the holidays,” Acevedo said, according to Click2Houston. “These people have no respect for the sanctity of life.”
Acevedo said he believed these suspects may be connected to other robberies of armored cars this year.
A total of five men were involved in the robbery attempt. They have been identified as Marc Anthony Hill, 46, Trayvees Duncan-Bush, 29, and Nelson Alexander Polk, 37. The fourth man John Edward Scott, 40, fled, but was later taken into custody, according to the District Attorney’s office. The deceased suspect’s identity has not yet been released.
The suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery. Additional charges of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a crime of violence were also filed, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
In October, an armored car security guard was shot in the leg during a robbery. The vehicle made a stop at a Target store on South Main Street. As the guard was returning to the vehicle from inside the store an alleged thief pushed him to the ground and shot him in the leg. He then robbed the guard of the cash from the store, KTRK ABC13 reported.
This was the second armored car robbery of the day. Hours earlier, another armored car was robbed at a stuffed potato restaurant, the local ABC affiliate reported. No one was injured in that incident.
Chief Acevedo said Houston is becoming known as “the armored car [robbery] capital of the world,” a local Houston newspaper reported. The sting operation at the Amegy bank was part of a carefully planned sting involving officers from the Houston Police Department and FBI agents. The local newspaper reported that eight armored cars have been robbed in the Houston area this year.
Chief Acevedo told reporters there is a “high probability” these suspects were involved in these other heists. Three security guards have been killed in armored car robberies in the Houston area over the past two years.
“It is important for our community to know that our officers tried to save the life of the suspect who just tried to kill members of the Houston Police Department,” Acevedo told reporters at the scene.
The four surviving suspects are expected to appear before a Houston district court judge on Thursday to face the charges.