Local hero helps catch robber

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SENATOBIA, Miss. -- Forty-two-year-old Tora Lavelle Bennett of Memphis sits in the Tate County Jail, facing armed robbery charges.

You may not believe how cops caught him - one of his victims took off after him.

”I am so proud of the gentleman that followed him and had enough sense to get on the phone with the state troopers,” said Mary Clay of Senatobia.

It started just after 11 a.m. Tuesday at a Senatobia supermarket.

As Bennett ran out the store, one of the store managers threw off his jacket and ran to his personal car. He followed Bennett down I-55 all the way to Panola County, talking to dispatchers the whole time.

Police don’t normally advise people to confront or chase after criminals, but in this case it made a huge difference.

”If he was not following the guy, we would have had no direction to go and today he could be robbing someone else,” said Senatobia Assistant Police Chief Robert Brownlee.

Tate Sheriff’s Dispatchers alerted Panola County, which put spike strips down on the interstate.

Bennett blew out the tires on his stolen minivan and wrecked in the median.

Officers and the Tate County Constable caught up with Bennett and put him in handcuffs.

”If it happened more often, it would make our job a whole lot easier and I’ve told people in the past, it takes the whole community to make the police department" said Brownlee.

And people in Senatobia take that seriously.

”If I wouldn’t have shot him first, gotten a clean shot and got him shot, I’d have been after him also,” Clay said.

People here say they hope more Memphis criminals remember that next time they think about committing a crime here.


    • Jennifer

      Maybe if he had been in a field working or just working period, then maybe he wouldnt have put my husband’s life at risk the way he did!! He deserves every bot of the time he gets PLUS some!

  • Jennifer

    That “hero” happens to be my husband. Although he argues and claims that he is not the hero here, his kiddos and I know in fact that he was and still is! I give many thanks to all the law enforcement officers that caught up so quickly to take over. Had they not done that, it is no telling what could have happened!

    To the man who robbed the store: Did it ever occur to you or cross your mind that one of those men in that store you robbed, happened to have been a father to 7 children? He followed you until back up arrived so that you could not rob another store! Next time you could have opted to kill someone with that flashy little pistol you had. Just know that I have no remorse for you or what you did. And I truly hope Tate County puts you UNDER the jail!!

    • Don

      Jennifer, Your husband is a smart family man. If he didn’t do what he did the police wouldn’t know where to look.
      Let us say he is a potential hero.
      Good work officers and the husband.
      God Bless you and your family.

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