Sheriff’s Press Conference Adds Details To Terrifying Robbery and Carjacking – Suspects Still at Large
A terrifying ordeal for a family from Lake Stevens Washington began in the early morning hours on Friday, after they witnessed an armed robbery at the Deano's Casino and Gas Station just off Interstate 90.
After the mother, father, grandmother and two children had left the scene, they called 9-1-1 to report the robbery. While they were pulled over waiting to be interviewed by authorities, the two suspects carjacked their vehicle, a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, with them as hostages.
Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott laid out the timeline of the events that occurred Friday morning.
"A deputy was able to begin negotiations with the suspects through the mother's cell phone, and the suspects demanded that pursuing vehicles fall back or they would shoot someone in the vehicle," McDermott said. "The deputy was able to convince the suspects to first release a 12 year-old boy on Reserve Street, and later to release a 14 year-old girl along with her grandmother at the intersection of Russell and West Broadway."
McDermott said it was heartbreaking for the parents to have to say goodbye to their loved ones not knowing if they would ever see them alive again.
"At this point, one of he suspects began driving the vehicle," he said. "Near the intersection of Dore Lane and Brooks the male driver turned around and then fired multiple shots at pursuing vehicles driven by deputies and officers.The suspects refused to release the mother and the father. The pursuit now continued at a very high rate of speed through Missoula. At 0521 hours, dispatch was contacted by the two remaining family members who reported that they had been released by by the suspects who fled on food at Sweetgrass Lane off Highway 93 North. Deputies, officers, troopers and our canine unit searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspects."
McDermott provided a description of the suspects who are still at large.
"The suspects are considered armed and extremely dangerous," he said. "Suspect number one is an African American male, 5 foot eight, about 140 pounds, wearing dark clothing and a black hoodie. Suspect number two was a light-skinned Caucasian male, 5 foot six and about 140 pounds. Both were armed with handguns.If anybody has any information, they're asked to call 9-1-1, or to report anonymously, call Crimestoppers at 721-44-44."
The suspects warned the mother and father when they dropped them off and left their vehicle not to contact authorities for at least 20 minutes, and they complied with that demand, fearing for their family's welfare.
Authorities set up a command center on Highway 93 North at the Gray Wolf Peak Casino, and canvassed the surrounding area to make sure all the residents were safe and no vehicles had been stolen.
The suspects attempted to disable the surveillance system at the casino, so it is not known if any usable images could be obtained.
McDermott said the family is safe and together, and grateful to have survived the terrifying ordeal. He said that no one was injured at the casino, or during the high speed chase, but the suspects remain at large.