As Americans celebrated the news of Osama Bin Laden was dead most law enforcement officials in north Montgomery County had no knowledge of it. The reason was they were involved in a man hunt.
Just after 9p.m. an alarm at Hardy School sounded for the second time today. The first time nobody was found but copper was stripped from refrigeration units used to keep cafeteria food cold. Officials were forced to find ice chests and insulated bags to keep the food from going bad.
This time Willis and Precinct One Constables responded to the scene. As they arrived they spotted two suspects, one bolted from the school and escaped the second was caught in the school after a foot chase. When he was brought out of the building he collapsed and was taken to the hospital in stable condition. Officials believe it was from over exertion from the climbing around in the building and then the chase.
It was determined a second person was in the school.As backups still arrived and surrounded the school one Montgomery County Deputy spotted the lone remaining suspect run down a hallway. MCSO, Willis, Panorama Village, DPS and Precinct One Constables arrived on the scene. The large school was completely surrounded with officers armed with assault rifles. As some held the perimeter others entered the building and began the slow search. K-9’s from Montgomery and from Precinct 1 Constables also assisted in the search. Several time throughout the three hour stand-off of Cat and Mouse the suspect was heard running in the ceiling area. The last was near the computer lab where it got quiet. One computer was found out on a playing field earlier.
North Montgomery County Fire Department was dispatched to gain access to the roof.
Then just after midnight the break came. While in the computer room he was detected in one side of the room what appeared to be in a wall. Officers quickly started breaking sheetrock. On one side of the room was a brick wall twelve inches behind the sheetrock.
Moments later as a piece was broken out the figure of a white male, face bloodied appeared in the small cavity. He was removed and placed in custody. A trail of blood followed the suspect and officers through the building and out through the front of the school to a MCHD ambulance that had been moved there in case of an injury.
The suspect was also transported to the hospital as his partner in crime was hours earlier.
With the building clear school officials were able to start assessing damage.
In the cafeteria area copper lines had been cut, food had already been put in coolers to preserve it. A hole was discovered in the roof where a vent was torn off to make access to the school.
In the mechanical room the glass in the door going to the hallway was broken out enabling the thieves to enter. Once in the mechanical room the main electrical panel was torn open. The wires were not cut but the box sustained severe damage.
Next to it several breakers had been turned off, mostly to the computer room area.
In the computer room ceiling tiles hug in several places. Sheetrock littered the side where the suspect was removed from the wall. Puddles of blood were also evident.
In another hallway ceiling tiles were ripped down. A step ladder stood in the middle of the hallway protruding into the gaping ceiling hole. Up in the ceiling area water dripped from a valve not completely closes. Next to the valve was a 6 foot piece of two-inch copper pipe cut out of the water supply line. Water flooded some areas of the hallway.
One of the suspects was found to be in possession of an envelope thick with U.S. Currency. Also several rolls or coins. The envelope was labeled “T-Shirt Fund”.
Officials plan to work throughout the night disinfecting the areas of blood. Cleaning up water and ceiling tiles and trying to get the air conditioning back on line.
Officials said since students don’t arrive until after 8a.m. they would have some time to get a better ideas of what was working and not working.
The suspects are under guard at Conroe Regional Hospital and should be released tonight so they can be placed in the Montgomery County Jail.
Their ages appear to be approximately 19-25 but no positive identification has been made on the suspects.