Elementary Student Receives Big Reward - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/17/05 - Lufkin

Elementary Student Receives Big Reward

by Jessica Cervantez

He is only 9-years-old, but that didn't stop Luis Rosales from helping catch a suspected bank robber. Many of his classmates were present as the Coston Elementary student received a big award.

Police received a 911 call from Hilaria Rosales. "It looks like Texas State Bank is being assaulted, 'what do you mean?' There's a man inside with a mask, he's walking outside right now, 'don't hang up from the phone.'"

A week ago, Hilaria Rosales' son, Luis, told her to make that 911 call. A phone call that would help catch suspected bank robber 18-year-old Christian Wilson.

The day started off with Rosales angry at her son for getting into trouble at school. Before she took him home, she stopped by Texas State Bank.

Rosales said, "I just got my money and put it in my purse and I was fixing to drive off and that's when Luis said, 'mom I think they are robbing the bank' and I didn't really pay attention, I was still mad at him, he said 'yes mom, they're robbing the bank.'"

Luis' actions are not going unrecognized. He received a thousand dollar savings bond and a gift certificate to buy a playstation.

He said, "I felt really excited because I've been dying to get one of those my whole entire life."

Bank employees showed Luis their appreciation, and publicly shared their memories of the robbery for the first time.

RayAnn Baker, the bank's branch manager, said, "He informed us that we weren't moving fast enough and that he would kill us and he didn't mind killing us."

Another employee, Ariadna Ramos, said, "To me my mind just went blank, all you want to do is give him what he wanted and get him out of there, and hope that no one gets hurt."

That is when the "what if's" begin.

Baker said, "What if something had happened and you didn't say goodbye to your family and didn't tell my Jessica that I loved her."

The employees say, their training helped get them through the robbery. But, they hope it is an experience, they won't have again.

Baker said, "Everyday, I watch the door continuously, I'm constantly watching people coming, standing at the teller line."

Luis' mom says her son also learned another valuable lesson from the robbery, good people get rewarded, and bad people get in trouble.

Wilson is still behind bars in Tyler charged with robbing the bank. Another couple, Rocky and Shiela Self are also charged with aggravated bank robbery in the case. The Selfs are being held in the Nacogdoches County jail on both state and federal charges with more charges pending.

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