Heroic citizens help police nab burglary suspects

Gary Lacy and Gerald Booth risked their lives, and for that, Police Chief Wayne McDowell says they are heroes. (Photo source: WLOX)
Gary Lacy and Gerald Booth risked their lives, and for that, Police Chief Wayne McDowell says they are heroes. (Photo source: WLOX)
It was the quick thinking of two men that helped police nab two suspects accused of robbing the Long Beach Hancock Bank at gunpoint.(Photo source: WLOX)
It was the quick thinking of two men that helped police nab two suspects accused of robbing the Long Beach Hancock Bank at gunpoint.(Photo source: WLOX)
"Everything was going so fast, you just knew what was right and what you needed to do," Booth said. (Photo source: WLOX)
"Everything was going so fast, you just knew what was right and what you needed to do," Booth said. (Photo source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Two Long Beach men went on a high speed chase and dodged several bullets in order to help police nab two suspects accused of robbing a bank.

"The two witnesses are heroes," Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell said. "Without their intervention, the suspects would have probably got away."

"It's not heroic. It was the right thing to do," said Gary Lacy.

It all began as a normal Friday at work for Gary Lacy and Gerald Booth. The men were sitting in a truck outside Long Beach Pharmacy when they noticed something odd across the street at Hancock Bank.

"We seen guys running out across the parking lot, so we figured they robbed it," Lacy said.

"The panty hose was flying behind their head when they were running," Booth said. "We were like, they can't be serious like that. Let's get them."

Booth's first instinct was to get out of the truck and tackle the masked men, but Lacy quickly grabbed Booth's seatbelt and told him they had guns in their hands. Booth and Lacy did not want to just let them get away, so they decided to chase them.

"We were moving really good," Booth said. "He was laying on the horn, slamming on brakes, because there was still traffic everywhere they was going around them. We was just trying to keep up and let the 911 people know what was going on."

They drove down Pineville Road, took the curve and turned onto A Avenue. That is when the men said one of the suspects leaned out of the window and started shooting at them.

"I didn't hear it go off," Lacy said. "We could just see the muzzle flash, the smoke from the gun, and I just told him, 'tell 911 they are shooting at us,' and we tried to stay as safe as we could and keep up."

"It was just adrenaline at that point in time," Booth said. "I mean, I saw them shoot, but the way he was hanging out of the vehicle, he was more than likely going to hit a tree or somebody at the Vo-tech center than us."

Booth and Lacy said it was hard to count, but they believe five shots were fired.

"I'm glad they didn't kill anybody," Booth said. "I don't know how much money they got, but they were shooting at us like my life wasn't worth it."

Despite the gunfire, the men were determined not to lose the suspects, and they continued following them onto Johnson Road.

"Everything was going so fast, you just knew what was right and what you needed to do," Booth said.

As Lacy and Booth were driving down Johnson Road about to get to the Beatline Road intersection, they saw police in their rear view mirror and were able to pull out onto Beatline Road and block traffic so police could get by and catch up to the suspects.

"The world in general would be a better place if everybody would take a stand sometimes instead of saying 'oh, that's not me. I'm not concerned with it,'" Booth said.

When asked if they were ever scared for their lives, Booth said laughing, "His driving. Other than that, no."

"No, not really," Lacy said. "It doesn't work that way. It's in the movies it works like that."

After Lacy and Booth let police take over, the chase went into Gulfport until the suspects ended up at a dead end. After a short chase on foot, the suspects were arrested.

"After everything was said and done, we made our police report, and we went back out to Johnson Road where they were shooting at us," Booth said."Trying to show the police what was going on at that point in time, I had a complete adrenaline dump. I got sick as a dog."

"It probably wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done in my life," Lacy admits. "It was the right thing to do. Glad I done it, and probably would do it again if I had to."

Austin Hubbard and Javaris Dixon remain behind bars charged with drive by shooting and armed robbery. Dixon is also charged with felony failure to stop when officer signals.

According to court documents, the suspects assaulted one of the bank tellers with a gun before taking off with $3,999.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.