An armed robbery suspect is still on the loose in Bay County. The suspect attempted to rob Eagle Nest Christian Academy, also the location of the Cove Baptist Church on Cherry Street and MacArthur Avenue.
Panama City Police said the suspect is a white male, 5’9″, with a medium build and was wearing a black hoodie and jeans. This man has led law enforcement officers on an all day search by foot, car, and air and caused panic for parents and neighbors.
That panic turned to relief for dozens of parents as they reunited with their children outside Eagle Nest Christian Academy after the building was cleared. The school was on lockdown after police say a man entered the building, revealed a firearm and demanded money from the schools receptionist.
Pastor Robert Denmark was out at a meeting but rushed back.
“‘There’s kids in here!’ She was brave enough to say that,” said Denmark.
The suspect then fled through the schools hallway.
“She said ‘well wait just a minute,’ then he ran into the sanctuary and they sealed that off and that’s when they searched the church,” said Denmark.
“Officers responded immediately, established a perimeter, we were able to shelter the children in one room, put a guard on them, in an area we knew he had not gone into,” said Panama City Police Chief Scott Ervin.
The suspect escaped the building leading multiple agencies on a neighborhood wide search.
“A lot of people don’t understand that even banks don’t keep that much money on hand anymore, and we make our deposits Monday morning,” said Denmark.
The suspect didn’t get any money. Several other Bay County schools were put on lockdown as well as they searched the area.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call the Panama City Police Department or 9-1-1.