By Kathi Bliss
Within days of a public call for assistance identifying the suspects in a armed robbery on Sept. 6, area residents galvanized and provided police with information that led to arrest warrants being issued for four suspects involved with the crime.
The Lockhart Police Department announced this week that warrants had been issued for the arrest of four individuals accused of robbing the Korner Bar at gunpoint, just after closing on Sept. 6. A combination of investigative work, public tips and witness statements led to the warrants being issued and served on Monday.
“[One of the victims] did a great job, but we really couldn’t have gotten this far, this fast, without the members of the public coming forward and telling us what they knew,” Chief of Police Mike Lummus said on Monday afternoon.
Arrest warrants were issued for two Lockhart men, as well as one from Houston and one from Killeen.
Shawn Shaw, 26, of Houston, was the first of the suspects identified, and is suspected to have been the ringleader in the robbery. Shaw was spotted by one of the victims exiting a green Chevrolet Trailblazer and walking into a local retail establishment on Saturday afternoon.
The witness said she thought Shaw looked similar to the man who had held a gun to her cheek during the robbery, days before. She also noted that he saw him looking over his shoulder at her, and that he began acting suspiciously and quickly left the store after she made mention of her phone having been stolen in a robbery a few days earlier.
Other witnesses from the community also came forward and gave statements that Shaw’s behavior in the days before and immediately after the robbery had been suspicious, and that he had mentioned to at least one neighbor that he was involved in the robbery.
Shaw, who is believed to have returned to the Houston area, has been charged with Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, a first-degree, felony, and has bond set at $300,000. Lummus said the bond amount is based on the fact that he was likely the ringleader, and has an extensive criminal history.
One of the witnesses who identified Shaw in surveillance video taken from the scene of the robbery also recognized two other suspects, identified as Brent “Bug” Garrett, 19, and Jeremiah Branch, 22, both of Lockhart. Though the two were both alleged to be involved with the robbery and have been charged with Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, witnesses at the time of the robbery said neither was actually carrying a weapon. Both have bonds set at $150,000. Garrett has a prior juvenile criminal record which has been sealed, cops said; Jackson also has a “fairly extensive” criminal history.
A fourth suspect, ORyan Jackson, of Killeen, was identified by those with knowledge of the crime as the second member of the “team” who was armed at the time of the robbery. He, too, is charged with Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, and has a bond set at $250,000.
As of Monday afternoon, police were preparing to arrest the local suspects, and hoping to work in conjunction with Houston police to apprehend Shaw and return him to Caldwell County to face trial.
Lummus offered his thanks to the witnesses that came forward, and reminded local residents that citizen cooperation is often instrumental in solving such crimes.
Anyone with information about a crime in their area is encouraged to contact the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401.