Five-State Manhunt Ends When Fugitive Shoots Himself
BELMONT, N.C. (AP) _ A man wanted for abducting and wounding his estranged wife died in a shootout with law officers after a five-state manhunt, authorities said.
Wade Morris Lucas Jr., 24, of Baltimore apparently turned a pistol on himself Monday after a car he stole spun off a highway near Belmont. Three hostages he had taken after his wife escaped fled the car.
Authorities in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina had searched for Lucas since his wife, Tara McEntyre, 22, was abducted Oct. 22 on her way to her job as a secretary for the Baltimore state attorney’s office.
Baltimore police spokesman Dennis Hill said Lucas pulled and dragged his wife ″kicking and screaming into his car″ and took off with her.
At first, police concentrated their search in the Northeast, but on Thursday a service station attendant in Jacksonville, Fla., found Ms. McEntyre’s employee identification card in a restroom, along with a plea for help scrawled in lipstick on a mirror.
Ms. McEntyre got away Friday in Greene County, Ga., about 60 miles east of Atlanta, and alerted the manager of a restaurant. As she climbed into a patrol car, Lucas opened fire from the restaurant’s roof, shattering the car’s rear window and wounding Ms. McEntyre in the hip, authorities said.
She was admitted to a hospital and later released.
Lucas eluded capture despite a search by more than 100 officers and dogs Friday. He stayed hidden during the weekend. Early Monday, Lucas abducted three men from outside their Greensboro, Ga., home and took off with them in their car.
But the gunman apparently was careless with his captives, who passed messages to service station attendants along Interstate 85 from Suwanee, Ga., to Gaffney, S.C., to alert authorities.
Authorities caught up with Lucas and his hostages after a service station attendant in Gaffney, near the North Carolina line, alerted them. North Carolina troopers gave chase.
The driver of the car with Lucas inside lost control and one of the troopers ran his cruiser into it to disable it, said Highway Patrol spokesman Graham Wilson.
Lucas and the law officers exchanged gunfire, Wilson said.
Paul Daly, the FBI special agent in charge in North Carolina, said the shootout ended when Lucas apparently pointed his 9mm pistol at a captive’s head, then ″suddenly put the weapon against his own head and pulled the trigger.″
Two of the hostages fled the car and were not injured. A third was injured when Gaston County police mistook him for the fugitive after he fled the car, Police Chief Tom McCarthy said. The hostage was bruised and a trooper’s hand was broken.