HOUSTON – Two of the three men suspected of targeting an armored truck with the intention to rob it appeared before a federal judge Monday.
Corderas Simmons, 31, and Jeremy Boniaby, 28, appeared in U.S. Magistrate Court. Both men have been charged with aiding and abetting, attempted interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting discharging a firearm.
A third suspect remained in the hospital Monday after a Houston Police SWAT officer shot him. His name has not been released.
Boniaby is accused of being behind the wheel of a stolen Ford F-250 pickup truck Friday morning. Simmons is accused of being one of two passengers.
As part of a greater investigation into armored truck robberies, officials believed the truck may have been stolen to be used in another such robbery, investigators said Friday.
"These are armed, dangerous hijackers out here committing armed robberies," said Matt Slinkard, executive assistant chief, Houston Police.
"We've seen it happening now for quite some time and the Houston Police Department has been aggressively investigating this," Slinkard added.
With this in mind, officers tailed the stolen truck with the belief that the occupants would try to use it to rob an armored car. Meanwhile, two members of the Houston police SWAT team got in an armored car on its route Friday afternoon and others tailed it, as well.
Late Friday morning, the armored car stopped in the parking lot of a Walgreens at 16244 South Post Oak Road near Court Road. The stolen pickup truck stopped nearby and investigating officers saw three men in the truck put on ski masks in what they believe was preparation to rob the armored car, Slinkard said.
"At that time, as our officers were getting ready to take them into custody once they exited that vehicle, they did not exit the vehicle after the armored car at that time, likely because the armored car drivers and our SWAT team did not get out of the armored car," Slinkard said in the press conference.
The suspects in the stolen truck began to drive away members of the SWAT team in them followed two marked police units and tried to pull them over. The suspects wouldn't stop, so officials conducted a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver to stop them in the parking lot of the strip mall at 16100 South Post Oak Road near Court Road.
Boniaby and Simmons are accused of trying to flee on foot and were quickly caught by officers. A third unnamed suspect got out of the passenger side of the pickup truck with an AR-15-style rifle and exchanged gunfire with SWAT officers, Slinkard said.
The suspect was shot and was airlifted to a hospital for treatment in critical condition. No law enforcement officers or civilians were injured in the gunfire.
Boniaby and Simmons could face up to 20 years in prison for the attempted interference with commerce by robbery charge if convicted. Moreover, they could receive a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for the discharge of a firearm charge, which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6.