Houston Co. authorities offering reward for at-large home invasion suspect

Keith Steele (Source: Houston County Jail)
Keith Steele (Source: Houston County Jail)

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Following a seven-hour standoff in which a suspect in a violent June 13 home invasion and robbery managed to slip away from authorities, the Crockett Police Department is working with the U.S. Marshals Service in an effort to locate the man, who is believed to be in the Houston area.

In addition, Houston County Crime Stoppers will be offering a cash reward for  information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who has been identified as Keith Steele, 21, of Crockett. Steele has prior felony arrests and is considered armed and dangerous.

According to a press release, officers from the Crockett Police Department acted on credible information that Steele was at the Cole Creek Apartment Complex located in the 1400 block of Cole Creek Lane on June 14.

Officers with the Crockett Police Department and deputies from the Houston County Sheriff's Office surrounded the apartment, and several attempts were made to contact the people inside. After authorities confirmed that Steele was inside the apartment, Crockett Police Chief David Cross requested assistance from the Lufkin Police Department's SWAT team.

The LPD SWAT team joined the other law enforcement authorities that were already in place around the apartment. However, after a seven-hour standoff, Steele was able to escape into a nearby wooded area and was believed to be headed to the Houston area.

The press release stated that Cross has requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals Services Gulf Coast Regional Task Force.

According to a previous East Texas News story, authorities called off the search at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday because of changing weather conditions.

Steele and three other men were involved in a home invasion and robbery at a residence in the 300 block of Durett Drive in Crockett.  All four of the armed men were wearing dark clothing and "bandana-style masks, according to the victims. The suspects allegedly assaulted and robbed the two men inside the house. Both victims received medical attention for their injuries.

Immediately after responding to the 911 call on June 13, Crockett PD investigators were able to identify two of the four suspects - Owens and Keith Steele, 21, of Crockett. Crockett PD officers took Owens into custody at approximately 5 p.m.

Jeremy Owens, 21, of Crockett, is still being held in the Houston County Jail. He was charged with aggravated robbery, burglary of a habitation, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with possession of marijuana, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

A neighbor who lived next to the two victims said that around 1:30 a.m., the victims came running out of the house and across the parking spots to her house, asking to use the phone to call 911. They were covered with blood.

After the 911 call was made, an anonymous tip was submitted saying the car that left the scene was seen pulling into a nearby motel, Economy Inn.

"We set up surveillance on the motel and watched in until we were able to secure a search warrant," Police Chief David Cross said. "At that point, some of the subjects drove away from the motel and were apprehended."

Kenneth McCullough, 24, of Houston, and Chalove Hunter, 24, of Lufkin, were both arrested at the scene and charged with possession of a controlled substance, a state-jail felony, and possession of marijuana.

Anyone with any information that could lead to Steele's arrest should call the Houston County Crime Stoppers hot line at (936) 545-TIPS.

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