Southern Illinois Man Arrested for Deadly Armed Bank Robbery

Published 05/16 2014 08:46PM

Updated 05/16 2014 08:47PM

James Watts (Illinois Department of Corrections)
James Watts (Illinois Department of Corrections)
A Cairo, Illinois man with a long history of crime and a short time out of prison is tied to a deadly armed bank robbery. A robbery that forced a small town on lock down.

29 year-old James Nathaniel Watts was arrested Thursday night after a high speed police chase in Alexander County. Watts currently faces a federal weapons charge for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

His arrest came after an attempted robbery at First National Bank in Cairo. Watts is accused of stopping three female employees as they tried to leave the bank. They were forced back inside around 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

Illinois State Police say two of the employees were fatally stabbed. The third was critically injured.

Watts was then seen on surveillance video leaving with the victims' purses and one of the women's SUV. Around 6:55 p.m. Thursday, police spotted that SUV. Watts was behind the wheel.

Watts then climbed onto a railroad trestle near the Ohio River and engaged in a standoff with police. He was taken into custody around 9:00 p.m. along with a pistol that he was carrying.

Watts has not yet been formally charged in this bank robbery. The case is being handled by the FBI.

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