In an effort to capture a man suspected of robbing a Macon Road bank Wednesday then fleeing onto Fort Benning, area law enforcement agencies searched homes and blocked off streets on post.
Columbus Police Lt. Steve Cox said about 9:15 a.m., a black man, between 25 and 30 years old, standing about 6-feet tall and weighing about 230 pounds entered the Regions Bank at 3805 Macon Road and robbed it at gunpoint of an undisclosed amount of cash. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweat shirt, black baggy sweat pants and a light gray T-shirt.
Military police, the FBI and Columbus police are investigating.
Fort Benning spokesman Anthony O'Bryant confirmed that all schools on post were locked down from about 10:30 a.m. to the end of the school day. At days end, Stowers Elementary School students were transported to the youth activity center on main post because of the school's location within the search radius.
Erin Nash lives near Martin Army Community Hospital, the area in which the search was concentrated. She said she returned home about 9:45 a.m. from visiting her son's school to find her neighborhood teeming with Fort Benning and Columbus officials.
"I thought, well that's weird that Columbus Police cars are here," Nash said.
Nash approached a police officer and asked if there was something going on that she should know about. The officer told her they were looking for someone and that she should return to her home and lock her door.
"It's scary," Nash said. "I've lived here for 12 years and I've never been scared before. You figure if you live on an Army post, you're safe, but it just goes to show you're not safe anywhere."
Nash was peering out her window when police officers approached her front door about 12:30 p.m. They knocked and asked if they could search her home. She gave them permission. The search lasted about a minute, she said.
Officers conducted searches of homes throughout Nash's neighborhood, Davis Hill, and in an area known as Bouton Heights, where Stowers Elementary School is located.
"They've gone into every single house regardless if people are home or not," Nash said.
Nash's husband, Master Sgt. Adam Nash with the 75th Ranger Regiment, wasn't allowed to come home this afternoon to have lunch with his wife because, like the area schools, the neighborhood was on lockdown.
"I'm glad they locked down the schools because they're usually open to everybody," Nash said.
She applauded the Columbus police, the FBI and the military police for working so diligently to keep Fort Benning residents safe while conducting their manhunt.
"(They're) doing the best they can do and hopefully they'll catch this guy so we can feel safe again."