Bank Robbery Turns Fatal in Cairo


By WSIL Reporter

***UPDATED 4:15 p.m. FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014*** 

CAIRO -- Illinois State Police have identified the victims of a fatal armed robbery in Cairo.

Cairo Police were called to First National Bank around 5:15 p.m. Thursday for a report of a robbery in progress. When they arrived, officers discovered three women with stab wounds in the bank's employee break room.

Two of the women - Anita J. Grace, 52, of Olive Branch and Nita J. Smith, 52, Wickliffe, Kentucky - died from their injuries. The third woman remains in critical condition. Her name is not being released.


***UPDATED 1:55 p.m. FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014***

CAIRO -- Federal prosecutors have charged James Nathaniel Watts with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Stephen Wigginton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, say Watts was arrested Thursday after a high speed chase that ended on a railroad train trestle in Cairo. Watts was driving a vehicle that belonged to an employee of First National Bank, which had been robbed earlier in the day. Two people were killed and a third critically injured in the robbery. Those crimes are still under investigation.

James N. Watts - Press Release and Criminal Complaint


*****UPDATED May 16, 2014, 10:30 A.M.*****

Law enforcement confirms that the suspect is James Watts, 29, of Cairo. The case is being handled by the FBI. Watts was brought to the Williamson County Jail overnight. 


*****UPDATED May 16, 2014, 4:30 A.M.*****

CAIRO -- Illinois State Police have confirmed a second bank employee has died after Thursday evening's robbery.  A third victim is recovering at an area hospital. No names are being released at this time.


*****UPDATED May 15, 2014, 10:45 P.M.******

CAIRO -- Police have a suspect in custody in connection with a violent bank robbery in Cairo Thursday evening that left at least one person dead.

State police said three people were injured in the hold up at First National Bank around 5:15 p.m. Authorities have not released the names of those victims or the extent of their injuries. The Cape Girardeau County coroner confirmed one person from Cairo was pronounced dead at St. Francis Medical Center Thursday night.

Family members told News 3 a female bank teller was killed.

"We're all just in shock right now. We can't believe it, can't believe something like this has happened, but it has in a small town. Right now I'm very, very angry and very, very bitter," said the victim's cousin Morrissa Clanahan. 

Investigators spent several hours Thursday evening searching for the suspect. They say he was armed with a knife and a handgun when he entered the bank and demanded money. The man was taken into custody around 9 p.m. within Cairo city limits.

His identity has not yet been released.



CAIRO -- A manhunt is underway after a violent bank robbery this evening.

State police say a man armed with a knife and a gun entered the First National Bank in Cairo around 5:15 p.m. Thursday. The bank is located along Washington Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets.
Investigators say there were injuries during the robbery, but they are not saying how many people were hurt.  Family members tell News 3 one of the victims was a bank teller, and she was killed.
Police say the suspect was wearing a dark hoodie, and left the scene in a car.
He remains on the loose at last report and is considered armed and dangerous
At one point, officers set up a roadblock, stopping traffic coming in and out of Cairo on Highway 51.  Officers with guns drawn were at the scene. After about an hour, that roadblock was taken down.  
The street in front of the First National Bank remained blocked off Thursday night as the investigation continued at the scene.  
State police also set up a staging area at 7th and Washington Streets to pass along information to the media.  
Stay with News 3 for updates.
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