Suspect in fatal Ill. bank robbery charged with firearms violation, authorities say

Story highlights

  • Two women were killed in an Illinois bank robbery and one was critically injured
  • A suspect is in custody and charged with possession of a firearm
  • His possible involvement in the bank robbery is still under investigation, police say

Two bank employees were killed and a third was critically injured during a bank robbery in Illinois, and authorities said a suspect was charged Friday -- with a federal firearms offense.

Authorities would say only that the Thursday afternoon holdup of the First National Bank was still under investigation a day later. But a suspect, identified by the Department of Justice as James N. Watts, was taken into custody following a high-speed chase after the robbery, and he was charged with a federal offense for possession of a firearm.

According to the Illinois sex offender registry, Watts was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of an 11-year-old in 2006 and is a registered sex offender in the state, which could prohibit his possession of a firearm.

Watts was arrested after abandoning a car during the chase, then being surrounded by police while he was on a railroad trestle, local authorities said. The car he was driving belonged to one of the bank employees, authorities said, adding that he was armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

The injured bank worker remained in critical condition Friday with knife wounds, according to Illinois state police.