U.S. Marshals track down second suspect in Crockett home invasion, robbery

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

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Law enforcement authorities tracked down a 21-year-old suspect in a violent June 13 home invasion and robbery Monday morning. The arrest in Hitchcock, Texas came more than two weeks after Keith Gregory Steele managed to slip away during a police stand-off at an apartment complex in Crockett on June 14.

After the Crockett Police Department received a tip about Steele's possible whereabouts, that agency passed the information on to the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Task Force.

"While working surveillance on the residence this morning, Steele, of Crockett, was seen leaving the residence in a vehicle," said Detective Clayton Smith, the public information officer for the Crockett Police Department. "That vehicle was surrounded by the U.S. Marshals and they were able to arrest Steele without incident. "

Steele, who has prior felony arrests, was considered to be 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 on June 13.  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, 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.

"We appreciate the assistance from the U. S. Marshals, Lufkin Police Department, Houston County Sheriff Department, Grapeland Police Department, Texas DPS, Constable Pct#1 Morris Luker, Crockett Fire Department,  ETMC EMS who assisted us on the day of the standoff.," said Crockett Police Chief David Cross. "We also appreciate Judge Erin Ford and the citizen who provided us with food and water during the incident. We also appreciate the information and calls that were made to the police in regards to Steele's whereabouts."

Cross added that authorities in Houston County are glad that the manhunt for Steele ended safely, and no one was hurt when the U.S. Marshals apprehended him.

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