Council admits to robbery, double-murder; told FBI he was 'desperate and needed money'

Brandon Council (Source: Pitt County Detention Center)
Brandon Council (Source: Pitt County Detention Center)
Conway police responded to the bank robbery Monday afternoon. (Source: Ken Baker)
Conway police responded to the bank robbery Monday afternoon. (Source: Ken Baker)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Brandon Council admitted to the FBI that he robbed the CresCom bank and shot the two employees multiple times, including an employee who was trying to hide under a desk.

In an affidavit written by a special agent with the FBI, Council, 32, from Wilson, NC, confessed to the CresCom Bank robbery in Conway and told agents that "he was desperate, he needed money and that he knew that he was going to hurt somebody that day." He also told agents that he had watched the movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and that he did not deserve to live.

Dig deeper - read the complete affidavit from the FBI in the PDF document below.

During Council's appearance in federal court on Thursday, the suspect volunteered to return to South Carolina. The prosecutor also told the defendant he could face the death penalty for the murders.

A reporter at the courthouse described the defendant as polite and looked straight at the judge during the proceeding.

The affidavit, which establishes probable cause for the charge of armed bank robbery with death resulting, begins with the robbery of the BB&T Bank in Wilson, North Carolina on August 11. It establishes that Council was identified as a prime suspect in that robbery, that that his criminal record showed he was convicted in North Carolina in 2011 for larceny over $1,000 and habitual felon. Council's parole on these charges expired 11 days before the BB&T robbery.

Surveillance footage from August 15 at the Express Inn in Conway captured a minivan with two men and a woman unloading luggage and carrying it into a room of the hotel, the affidavit continues. A review of the records showed the van was registered to a woman who was interviewed by law enforcement on August 21. She said that she dropped Council off at the Conway Express on August 15. She said she saw Council remove the battery and SIM card from his phone and stomp on it in at attempt to destroy it.

On August 21 at about 1:10 p.m., Council is seen on surveillance camera leaving the Conway Express Inn, dressed in a distinctive blue striped polo shirt and blue jeans, the affidavit states. He was then captured on surveillance video at the CresCom Bank at about 1:13 p.m.

Footage from inside the bank showed Council having a brief conversation with the teller, according to the FBI. He then pulled out a firearm, pointed it at the female teller, and shot her multiple times.

Council then jumped over the teller counter and located a second female employee, who was hiding underneath a desk, the document continues. Upon finding her, the video shows Council shooting her multiple times as she attempted to hide under the desk. Both victims were killed as a result of the gunshot wounds inflicted by Council.

The surveillance video then shows Council driving away in the Chrysler 200 belonging to one of the victims of the robbery. The other victim's Honda key was missing when law enforcement arrived at the scene, along with multiple bank credit cards belonging to the victims.

A bank audit showed that the bank lost a total of $15,294, according to the FBI.

At about 1:20 p.m., Council is again seen at the Conway Express Inn going into the room, grabbing his luggage, and putting it in the trunk of the Chrysler.

On August 23 at about 12:30 p.m., surveillance units spotted Council driving a white Mercedes Benz, leaving a motel parking lot in Greenville, North Carolina, the affidavit continues. Council drove to another motel, and marked police units responded. Council fled on foot, and after a brief chase, he was taken into custody. He was found to be in possession of his North Carolina ID card, and key fobs for a Chrysler and a Honda vehicle.

FBI officials said Council was then advised of his Miranda rights, which he waived, and he agreed to make a statement. He confessed to the CresCom Bank robbery, and admitted to shooting both employees during the course of the robbery. He told agents he was desperate, needed money, and knew he was going to shoot someone. He then told agents he had watched "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and that he did not deserve to live.

"Get Rich or Die Tryin'" starts Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as a young man who lost his other to a murder, then began working for a drug dealer, according to an online film synopsis. He is shot multiple times during a robbery, and decides to change his life.

A federal criminal complaint from the United State District Court charges Council with armed bank robbery with a deadly weapon resulting in death, use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said Wednesday that they are also pursuing two counts of murder, entering a bank with the intent to steal, grand larceny, armed robbery, possession of weapon during a violent crime and being a felon in possession of a pistol.

Federal hearing Thursday

United States Attorney Beth Drake announced Thursday morning a hearing had been set for accused Conway bank robber Brandon Michael Council.

The hearing will take place at about 2:45 p.m. in the federal courthouse in Greenville, NC, located at 216 South Evans Street.

Council was charged with armed bank robbery with a deadly weapon resulting in death and use, carry, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in what the release calls a criminal complaint.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Conway Police Department, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Horry County Police Department, the Horry County Sheriff's Office, the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the Wilson Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Marshal's Service investigated.

Read the complete FBI affidavit below:

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