Two armed men reportedly held up an 8-liner gameroom in Hebbronville Wednesday night, but officers responded quickly and caught the suspects.
It was a very close call, according to Sheriff Erasmo Alarcon. He said it could have gone bad quickly, and he hopes it is a learning lesson to the public.
Residents of Hebbronville agree.
"I get a little bit scared because I know people that come in here and gamble, and like if last night, if they would just have taken off shooting, killed somebody, one of your relatives or something, I mean that would have been bad, you know," resident Louie Arredondo said. "They need to kind of do something about it now before something like that happens."
The armed robbery happened around 10:30 p.m. at a gameroom on South Smith Street. The gameroom was housed in a building that used to be Fandango's Pizza.
Sheriff Alarcon said the suspects walked into the gameroom and told everyone to get on the floor. The men were armed with a sawed off 20-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver.
Witnesses said they told the customers inside not to look at them in the face, and that they weren't afraid to shoot. The suspects took the customers' cell phones and then went to the office where the money was, taking $10,000 in cash.
However, someone inside managed to call 911, so the Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies surrounded the gameroom and detained the suspects. They had to taze one of them first.
The armed robbery did not stop other gamerooms in Hebbronville from opening their doors Thursday, and it didn't stop customers from playing.
The Sheriff's Office arrested three people for aggravated robbery -- 38-year old Joshua Cantu of Alice, 38-year old Reynaldo Sanchez of San Diego and 20-year old Fansealee Blanton of Kingsville. The sheriff said Blanton dropped the men off and was supposed to drive the getaway car as well.
Bond has been set at $750,000 for all three suspects.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Alarcon said he is not going to tolerate the gamerooms in Hebbronville, and on Thursday afternoon, he went around to give a verbal warning to the gameroom operators, telling them that they need to shut down immediately.
The sheriff said he would rather have people complaining that the gamerooms have been shut down than have them complaining about somebody getting killed.