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Suspect in fatal Illinois bank robbery charged with firearms violation, authorities say

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Money and police lights

(CNN) — Two bank employees were killed and a third was critically injured during a bank robbery in Illinois, and authorities said a suspect was charged Friday — with a federal firearms offense.

Authorities would say only that the Thursday afternoon holdup of the First National Bank was still under investigation a day later. But a suspect, identified by the Department of Justice as James N. Watts, was taken into custody following a high-speed chase after the robbery, and he was charged with a federal offense for possession of a firearm.

According to the Illinois sex offender registry, Watts was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of an 11-year-old in 2006 and is a registered sex offender in the state, which could prohibit his possession of a firearm.

Watts was arrested after abandoning a car during the chase, then being surrounded by police while he was on a railroad trestle, local authorities said. The car he was driving belonged to one of the bank employees, authorities said, adding that he was armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

The injured bank worker remained in critical condition Friday with knife wounds, according to Illinois state police.

CNN’s Christy Lenz contributed to this story.

KMOV reported that the incident happened in Cairo, Illinois.

1 Comment

  • The Governor

    I understand they could be waiting to see if the employee makes it so it can be properly determined if he will be charged for three murders, but why are there no charges at all for the bank robbery? Why only possession of a firearm?

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