HOUSTON — A bank robbery suspect who led Houston police on a chase around Houston in a minivan Wednesday has a long history of run-ins with the law.
Brackshear Booker, 48, and Robert Hanson, 24, are accused of holding up a Trustmark Bank on the Katy Freeway near Gessner before the hour-long chase. They had a semi-automatic weapon, but no one was hurt.
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Booker had been convicted of burglary, armed robbery, drug possession, aggravated assault and murder in the late 1980s.
People who knew Booker on the streets in those days called him "Uzi man" because he liked to carry around a sub-machine gun.
He was already on parole for aggravated assault when he shot a man to death in Galveston County.
Court records show he received a life sentence on the murder conviction but was released on parole last June after serving 23 years.
During the same month, 13 other convicted murderers were paroled and sent to Houston, more than at any other time in history, according the Andy Kahn, the city of Houston’s Crime Victim’s Advocate.
"The primary purpose of prison is to keep violent offenders locked up," said Kahn. "Here, you had not a one or a two, but a three-time violent offender who’s committed some of the most serious egregious crimes."
Both Booker and Hanson now face fresh charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.
They drove the minivan from southeast Houston to the north side and back to the southeast side with police in pursuit.
Hundreds of witnesses, who watched the chase on television, ran outside when they realized it was coming their way.
"Indy 500. That’s what it looked like," said James Mea, a witness.
Some witnesses said they saw the driver waving and flashing the peace sign when he went past them.
Police threw spike strips in front of the vehicle five different times.
The suspects finally pulled over on Scott Street after driving several miles on flat tires. Booker jumped from the car and tried to run away on foot. He changed his mind when he saw police officers with their guns pointed at him. His pants fell down when police were handcuffing him.
Hanson surrendered immediately.