Chase ends in suicide off 51

Published 9:02 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

A man allegedly wanted for a double murder in Texas fatally shot himself in a Pike County field after a chase with troopers on northbound I-55 Friday.

Troopers were notified around 4:30 p.m. of a white Ford Escape with Texas plates crossing the Louisiana-Mississippi state line on I-55, said Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Brandon Fortenberry. The vehicle and tag matched that of a suspect wanted in a double homicide in Texas that occurred Wednesday, he said.

Fortenberry said the trooper was going to wait for backup to arrive before he attempted to make a felony traffic stop. The troopers attempted to make the stop on Delaware Avenue in McComb. The subject, a white male, traveled back to northbound I-55, he said.

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The chase included five or six MHP units traveling at speeds over 100 mph, he said. Other law enforcement agencies responded as well, Fortenberry said.

The suspect took exit 24 off I-55 at Lake Dixie Springs, just south of the Lincoln County line.

“While troopers were in pursuit of the alleged Texas double-murder suspect Friday evening, they were unsure exactly what his plans were in his attempt to evade so many units behind him,” Fortenberry said.

From there, the man traveled east to Hwy. 51, and headed south toward Summit. “After a lengthy chase of very high speeds to passing vehicles on hills, the suspect chose to end the chase in an abandoned field just north of Summit,” he said.

Warren Strain, communication director for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, confirmed the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He would not say whether the suspect was Randall Lee Burrows, 54, of Lakeway, Texas.

Strain said Saturday that the deceased did not have a driver’s license with him and authorities are unable to say with 100 percent accuracy that the man is Burrows.

He said an autopsy is scheduled at the crime lab in Pearl Monday.

“Until then we are withholding positive ID,” he said.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office told media in Texas that the deceased was Burrows, and that he ran seven cars off the highway, drove into a field, had a very short standoff with the highway patrol, and then held a firearm to his head.

Captain Craig Smith, with the TCSO, said he did not believe authorities fired any shots during the standoff in Pike County. Burrows made some unspecified statements and then shot himself in the head, deputies with TCSO told the media.

“We grieve for the families in Texas and are glad it came to an end without anymore innocent lives being taken or hurt,” Fortenberry said.

According to Texas media reports, Richard Dale Guthrie and Susan Gulla-O’Leary, both 60 years old and from Austin, were identified Friday as the two victims in a double-homicide in Travis County.

Burrows was identified as a suspect in the deaths and left the scene in a white Ford Escape with a tag that matched the tag on the vehicle troopers stopped in Pike County.

Burrows allegedly shot three people over a business dispute on Wednesday, according to Texas media reports.

Authorities found a man and woman dead in the front yard of a private residence. They’d been shot in the head. The third victim, a woman found with gunshot wounds in a home in the same area, is said to be in critical condition.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation here.

Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry, Mississippi Highway Patrol