A suspect was in custody after he allegedly robbed Texas’ Naskila Gaming venue early today (May 13). He led cops on a high-speed chase for 50 miles before a standoff with officers, authorities said. He eventually surrendered on a highway.
The suspect was identified as Marquel Fitzgerald, 34, of Houston, according to East Texas News, an online site.
The incident began shortly before 6 am today at the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe’s casino. It is located some 17 miles from Livingston, Texas.
While in the casino, Fitzgerald allegedly grabbed some items, possibly cash-out tickets, and fled from the gaming venue, East Texas News said.
“One of the guests had placed them (at the cashier’s booth) and the cashier just had not reached up to get them yet,” Alabama-Coushatta Police Chief Rex Evans told East Texas News.
“It was almost like a smash-and-grab robbery… The opportunity presented itself and this was a career criminal. He took advantage of the opportunity.”
He also may have stolen some cash from a casino visitor, police said. Initial reports suggest he did not have a weapon.
In less than a minute after the robbery, officers from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Police Department were at the casino. They spotted him in the parking lot.
When he saw the officers, the suspect allegedly sped away in his car, reported to be a Dodge Charger. Officers chased him.
Police Join in Pursuit
Texas Highway Patrol troopers and Polk County Sheriff’s deputies joined in the high-speed pursuit through Montgomery County, according to KTRK, a Houston TV station.
As the chase continued, he allegedly tossed items out of the car window. They were believed to have been stolen from the casino. Some of the items later were located and seized by police officers.
One of the tires on the car was blown out during the pursuit, the report adds. The damage was believed to have taken place when the suspect drove into two other cars, KTRK said.
Eventually, he stopped on I-69 Eastex Freeway in Houston. But he refused to leave the car, police said.
Several police vehicles remained on the highway near the car while he stayed inside. Traffic was stopped on the Houston-bound lanes of the highway.
He eventually surrendered at about 7 am, KTRK said. As a precaution, officers on the highway had their firearms drawn, KTRK added. After leaving the car, he reportedly walked backward and held his hands in the air.
There were no injuries. No one else was in the Charger.
Among the charges that could be considered are evading, failure to stop, and robbery, Evans told East Texas News. The charges would come from federal authorities since the robbery started on a Native American reservation.
If convicted, it could mean several years in prison for Fitzgerald.
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