A Mississippi murder suspect sought in a nationwide manhunt was captured early Wednesday morning in Kansas after shooting a convenience store clerk and leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase, authorities said.
Alex Bridges Deaton, 28, of Brandon, Mississippi, was taken into custody just before 8 a.m. after crashing a stolen Cadillac, which then burst into flames, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. Deputies from multiple counties were pursuing Deaton after the shooting of a store clerk in Pratt, Kansas.
Deaton was not injured in the crash, which was reported after troopers used tactical maneuvers to keep Deaton from exiting Interstate 70 into the city of Wilson, located in Ellsworth County.
KSNW-TV in Wichita reported that authorities from Kiowa and Pratt counties first began pursuing Deaton after they spotted him driving a Honda Accord that had been reported stolen in New Mexico. He abandoned that vehicle in Pratt, where he is accused of going into a nearby convenience store and shooting the clerk before taking the Cadillac from the parking lot.
The clerk was reported to be in critical condition.
Authorities in Sandoval County, New Mexico, said Deaton carjacked a couple there on Tuesday evening, forcing them into the trunk of the woman’s Honda, KOB 4 News in Albuquerque reported. The couple was able to escape the trunk, but the man was shot in the process.
Investigators said Deaton held the woman at gunpoint as he forced his way into a nearby home, where he demanded the keys to a van parked outside, the news station reported. He kept the woman hostage as he drove the van down a service road, where she was able to flee.
Deaton went back to the woman’s abandoned Honda, which he took and drove into Kansas, KOB 4 News reported. The man shot in the carjacking was reported to be in stable condition.
Deaton had been on the run since Friday, when he became a suspect in the death of his girlfriend, Heather Robinson. He was also wanted in the Friday morning shooting of a female jogger, who survived.
Deaton, who had no previous criminal record, is also a person of interest in the slaying of a third woman, according to authorities. Though no charges have been filed in that case, Deaton is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Robinson, 30, and with aggravated assault in the shooting of the jogger.
The Rankin County Sheriff's Office reported on its Facebook page that deputies were called around 5 a.m. Friday to the scene of a shooting in which the female victim said she was jogging when a white man with facial hair drove up in a small white SUV and shot her from his open driver’s side window, the bullet striking her in the thigh.
It was around 4:20 p.m. that same day that a deputy, along with a concerned family member, went to Robinson’s apartment for a welfare check and found her dead, the Sheriff’s Office said. WJTV in Jackson reported Monday that preliminary reports indicated Robinson, a registered nurse, had been strangled.
Robinson’s cellphone and white 2012 GMC Arcadia SUV were missing, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deaton became a suspect in both cases because of the proximity of the two crime scenes, which are about a mile apart, as well as his resemblance to the suspected shooter, the similarity of the vehicle in each case and physical evidence found at the scene of the shooting.
Deaton is also a person of interest in the death of Brenda Pinter, 69, who was found shot to death Thursday evening in Dixon Baptist Church in Philadelphia, about 75 miles from Brandon in Neshoba County. According to the Clarion-Ledger, Pinter went to the church to do some cleaning.
Her husband found her body after she failed to return home, the newspaper said.
Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell told WLBT that surveillance footage from the church showed Pinter arriving around 4 p.m. on the afternoon she died. A short time later, a white SUV pulled into the parking lot and stayed for several minutes before leaving.
Waddell told the news station that investigators know “without any doubt at all” that the SUV was the only vehicle to enter the parking lot between that time and the time Pinter’s husband found her body.
There was no known connection between Pinter and Deaton, though Waddell said that Deaton has family in the Philadelphia area and has worked there in the past.
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