National

Murder plot triggered a manhunt. Fugitives’ blunder was asking to use locals’ phones, Va. cops say

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia has arrested three fugitives (including 24-year-old Lewis Hickman, pictured) who authorities say shot at a man in his garage over the weekend in an attempted murder, but then drove off. The suspects were caught after they approached two residences trying to make phone calls, and police were called on them.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia has arrested three fugitives (including 24-year-old Lewis Hickman, pictured) who authorities say shot at a man in his garage over the weekend in an attempted murder, but then drove off. The suspects were caught after they approached two residences trying to make phone calls, and police were called on them. Wise County Sheriff's Office

A 50-year-old Virginia man was working on his car in the garage late Saturday when he got an unwelcome — and nearly deadly — surprise, according to deputies.

After a car pulled up around 11 p.m., someone got out and began firing into the garage window, according to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office in rural western Virginia. The shots hit and injured the man — and the suspects quickly drove off, WJHL reports. The man survived the shooting, but had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery.

“We believe the shooter had a motive to be in that area, but shot an innocent party,” Col. Grant Kilgore told the Bristol Herald Courier on Tuesday.

Days later, the sheriff’s office has arrested all three suspects who fled after the shooting — and the fugitives may have evaded authorities longer, had they not twice gone to local residents’ homes hoping to use their phones to make calls, according to the sheriff’s office.

35735990_1673625526087798_4973631781568774144_o.jpg
Paige Carroll, 22 Wise County Sheriff's Office

The suspects had all run away on foot, authorities suspected, because they ditched their car following a chase with police, the Kingsport Times News reports. Deputies found and seized the vehicle on Monday around 7 p.m., two days after the shooting. The suspects were considered armed and dangerous at the time.

Virginia authorities started closing in on the trio Tuesday, after 24-year-old Lewis Hickman and 22-year-old Paige Carroll went up to a home in Lee County around 11 a.m. and asked a local to use the phone, according to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

Instead of handing over the phone, the resident kept the door shut and immediately called police, the sheriff’s office said. That’s when deputies responded and encircled the area to search for the suspects using police dogs and a Virginia State Police helicopter.

Soon one of the suspects, Carroll, gave herself up to deputies not far from the Wise and Lee county line, the sheriff’s office said.

35694773_1673625606087790_830339121028268032_o.jpg
Aaron Leigh Adams, 40 Wise County Sheriff's Office

Meanwhile, the search dogs led authorities from the location of the initial sighting through a wooded area and into an open field. It was in that clearing that the helicopter spotted another of the three suspects, 40-year-old Aaron Leigh Adams. He surrendered to officers on the ground, the sheriff’s office said.

But the third suspect, Hickman, was nowhere to be seen. Authorities spent hours scouring barns, abandoned buildings, forests, fields, homes and more to no avail.

Wednesday morning, though, Hickman tried to make another phone call, authorities said.

Watch a K-9 unit training to locate suspects from their perspective.

He went up to another home on the county line and asked to use their phone, the sheriff’s office said. But deputies and state troopers quickly responded. They found Hickman in the front yard and arrested him, the sheriff’s office said.

Read Next

The three suspects all face charges of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and related charges in connection with the June 17 shooting. All three are being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail without bond.

Carroll and Hickman were also wanted on separate, earlier warrants — Hickman on meth, grand larceny and burglary charges, according to the sheriff’s office.

  Comments