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Suspect flees after traffic stop

COPIAH COUNTY – Following an all-night manhunt for a man who isbelieved to be armed and dangerous, residents of the Martinsvillearea are being warned to keep their doors and cars locked and tocall authorities immediately if they see any suspicious activity,authorities said.

As of this morning, the fugitive was still at large and was lastseen running into the woods near the Interstate 55-Tower Roadinterchange in Martinsville, authorities said. The suspect wasdescribed as a slender white male with dark hair, but detailsbeyond that were sketchy.

Several law enforcement agencies gathered in the areasurrounding the Martinsville exit Wednesday while trying to locatethe suspect. The man allegedly attempted to run over MississippiHighway Patrolman Luke Harrington, of Brookhaven’s Troop M, duringthe incident that began on the interstate around 11:55 a.m.Wednesday.

Harrington tried to stop a white Chevrolet Tahoe, which waslater determined to be stolen from Panama City, Fla., for weavingon the interstate, said Troop M Public Affairs Officer Sgt. RustyBoyd.

“The trooper attempted to stop the subject, who chose to flee,”Boyd said.

After getting off at Exit 56, the subject stopped his vehicle,Boyd said.

“The guy displayed a weapon. When the officer saw it, he firedfour shots and hit the back left tire on the vehicle,” saidBoyd.

Shortly thereafter, the suspect put the vehicle in reverse as heturned around, forcing the officer to get out of the way, Boydsaid. The suspect then lost control of the vehicle, probably due tothe tire being blown out.

Boyd said authorities began a manhunt and concentrated on thearea south of mile marker 56 on Interstate 55 in Copiah County.Members of Mississippi Highway Patrol Troops C, M and J, as well asthe Mississippi Department of Transportation, the MississippiDepartment of Wildlife, Game and Fisheries, the Copiah CountySheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the AmiteCounty Sheriff’s Office, the Hazlehurst Police Department and theMississippi Bureau of Narcotics were on site to aid in thesearch.

The search spanned an area of several miles and had patrol carsand other emergency vehicles lined up about every 200-300 yardsalong Interstate 55 and Highway 51 well into the nightWednesday.

“There were more officers and agents out there than I’ve everseen at anything,” said Boyd. “There were a lot of agencies, aswell as some dogs from the Louisiana Department of Corrections.Some of them were up there all night, so at this point we’ve left askeleton crew, and they’re going to regroup this morning.”

Search dogs were brought in from the Louisiana StatePenitentiary as well as from Jackson to aid in the search, whichwas somewhat hampered by pouring rain.

With the vehicle reported stolen from Florida, there is reasonto believe the suspect is not local, officials said.