South Carolina

Conway bank robbery, murder suspect arrested in North Carolina

CresCom robbery suspect in custody, officials hold press conference

A suspect in the deadly Conway bank robbery, who police said was “armed and dangerous,” is now in custody, the Horry County Police Department said.
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A suspect in the deadly Conway bank robbery, who police said was “armed and dangerous,” is now in custody, the Horry County Police Department said.

Police in Greenville, N.C., arrested the man accused of killing two Horry County women during a Conway bank heist, after a brief foot chase Wednesday after noon, officials say.

In a press conference a few hours after the arrest, Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said North Carolina police arrested 32-year-old Brandon Michael Council, of Wilson, N.C. Warrants will be issued to charge Council with two counts of murder, one count of entering a bank with an intent to steal, grand larceny, armed robbery, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and felon in possession of a pistol, Richardson said.

“We’ve had constant contact with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” he said. “This does involve multiple states and they are pursuing the appropriate charges very aggressively also.”

Council was released from probation after serving time for a felony larceny conviction on July 31, according to online prison records. Ten days later, police say he robbed the BB&T branch on Tarboro Street in Wilson, N.C. No one was injured.

Eleven days after that, police say, Council entered the CresCom Bank on the corner of U.S. Highway 501 and 16th Avenue in Conway with a gun. Council is accused of robbing the bank, killing two employees and stealing one of the victim’s cars. Police followed tips throughout the county in the days that followed, until hearing this afternoon that Council had been captured in Greenville, N.C.

Greenville police Chief Mark Holtzman told NBC affiliate WITN that his department received a 911 call from someone who reported seeing Council near a Red Lobster.

WITN reported that police initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle near a Baymont Inn and Suites on Memorial Drive.

The Greenville Daily Reflector reported that Council was driving a BMW with a North Carolina license plate.

Council attempted to run when the car was pulled over, but was quickly apprehended, according to ABC affiliate WCTI 12.

Two employees of CresCom Bank, Kathryn “Katie” Davis Skeen, 36, and Donna Major, 59, were killed in the robbery at the branch on the corner of U.S. Highway 501 and 16th Avenue on Monday.

“We will never be the same after what has happened in this town,” said Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy Wednesday afternoon.

“Not only have both the Skeen and Major families been shaken to the core over the last two days, so has the entire city of Conway,” Bellamy said. “We are shaken but not to our foundation because we are a people of faith and we know that God will get us through this.”

Council is currently wanted for felony common law robbery after the Wilson robbery on Aug. 10.

“We’ll do everything in our power to see that the truth is told and that justice is served to all parties involved,” Richardson said.

Long criminal history

Council is no stranger to the criminal justice system in his home state, with convictions dating back to 2004.

Council served more than 5 years in North Carolina correctional facilities after he was convicted of being an habitual felon and larceny on March 16, 2011. His parole ended on the charges on July 31 — 10 days before the reported robbery in Wilson, according to online records through the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Seven months before his 2010 arrest in that case, Council was back in prison for breaking his probation on a 2008 felony breaking and entering conviction with another larceny in 2009, records show.

Council was also found guilty of receiving stolen goods and stealing a car in 2005 and of receiving a stolen car in 2004.

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