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Suspect in custody in hammer beating of elderly ETX couple

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TATUM, TX (KLTV) -

Authorities have a suspect in custody after a manhunt Thursday afternoon for a man authorities say broke into an elderly East Texas couple's home and beat them with a hammer.

Tatum Mayor Phil Cory says it appears a white male broke into the couple's home off of Highway 43, past the four-way, heading toward Marshall.

The man beat the couple with a "claw hammer", authorities say.

911 operators took a call from the elderly man, prompting the response to the home by emergency and law enforcement officials.

Officials say the elderly woman was flown to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler with very serious injuries.

The elderly man was taken by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center, officials say. His condition is not known at this time.

The identities of the couple have not been released, but Mayor  Cory described them as "prominent".

The Panola County Sheriff's Office and Tatum Police Department responded to the scene.

Tatum ISD Superintendent Dee Hartt reports that the incident occurred less than a mile away from the school campuses. Hartt says the campuses were on lockdown from about 3:15 until 3:35 p.m. Thursday afternoon, as the assailant may have been on foot in the area.

This story is developing. Stay tuned to KLTV.com for the latest.

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