The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

August 22, 2011

Quick response yields armed robbery arrests

Pair holds up Sonic employee at gunpoint

HUNTSVILLE — Quick response and joint efforts by several law enforcement agencies led to the apprehension of two armed robbery suspects in the early morning hours Monday.

Shortly after midnight, the Huntsville Police Department received a call that a robbery was taking place at Sonic Drive-In, located at 2518 Sam Houston Ave.

According to reports, Charlie Daniel Clayton, 19, and Danielle Beamon, 20, used a .22-caliber rifle with laser site to hold up a Sonic employee, who was not injured in the incident, and stole the victim’s red Toyota Camry.

The suspects then fled in the car and headed south on Interstate 45. The car eventually exited the interstate in Willis and headed north back toward Huntsville while being pursued by officers from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Huntsville Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety.

The stolen car ran off the road into a ditch on FM 2296 and came to a stop. The suspects fled into the woods on foot and Texas Department of Criminal Justice tracking dogs helped locate Clayton and Beamon, who were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.

“We wanted to stress the total cooperative effort of all the law enforcement agencies in this area,” said HPD Chief Kevin Lunsford, who along with Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae wanted to thank all the agencies involved. “The offense occurred here in the city, but there is no way we could have done this without everybody’s help. It is impossible for any of us to provide all the assistance that is needed without the help of everybody else.”

Clayton and Beamon were booked into the Walker County Jail and remain there without bail. The suspects will be arraigned in front of a judge this morning.

After Clayton and Beamon were arrested, they were interviewed by police, and Clayton said that he attempted to fire on officers with the rifle during the car chase, but that both times the gun jammed.

“Basically, the detectives let (Clayton and Beamon) talk and asked them what happened,” HPD Lt. Jim Barnes said. “As they were talking, Clayton made that confession. He said he actually tried to fire twice, but the second time it jammed he just got frustrated and threw the rifle in the back of the car.”

Lunsford said that additional charges stemming from Clayton’s admission that he attempted to fire on the officers are pending based on where the offenses took place.

“We are still looking into those charges because it depends on where it occurred in either Montgomery or Walker counties and the circumstances,” Lunsford said. “It could be anything up to attempted capital murder. We will be discussing that with the appropriate (district attorneys).

Sgt. Jason Sullivan with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office was the first to spot the stolen vehicle as it headed south on I-45. He followed the car until it pulled over at the rest stop between Huntsville and New Waverly. HPD and DPS officers joined the pursuit from there before the car ran off the road and the suspects bolted into the woods.

Sgt. Steven McNiel with the DPS said no one was injured in the chase and the stolen vehicle was traveling in excess of 100 mph when it rounded a curve and slammed into a ditch.

Clayton and Beamon were hiding in the woods, a few hundred feet off the road, for 30 to 40 minutes when a TDCJ tracking dog alerted to their scent.

“As far as the Highway Patrol is concerned, we could not have done it without TDCJ,” McNiel said. “We were about to wrap it up when that dog alerted. If it had not been for the TDCJ employees and that dog, we would have not have been able to apprehend them.”

Officers from the Sam Houston State University Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also helped in the apprehension of Clayton and Beamon.

Lunsford said this armed robbery is not believed to be connected to a string of similar incidents that occurred two months ago. In June, the Domino’s in Huntsville, Subway in New Waverly and Popeye’s Chicken in Conroe were all robbed.

“We are still investigating the Domino’s robbery and the connection with New Waverly and Conroe,” Lunsford said. “These suspects do not match the description — different race, different gender. We had a female in this one and the other robberies had two black male suspects. To my knowledge, there is no connection at this point.”

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