PRATT, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities have arrested a man suspected of shooting a Kansas convenience store clerk in Pratt and kidnapping two hikers in New Mexico while on the run after his girlfriend was killed in Mississippi.
The suspect in this case has been identified as 28-year-old Alex Bridges Deaton. Deaton was arrested at approximately 7:50 a.m. in Ellsworth County. He is wanted for a homicide occurring in Mississippi and a robbery and shooting in New Mexico according to KRQE-TV.
The Pratt Police Department said Deaton allegedly shot a convenience store clerk Wednesday morning in Pratt. Authorities from Kiowa and Pratt County engaged in a pursuit involving a vehicle that had been reported stolen in New Mexico.
The vehicle was later abandoned by the suspect, who fled on foot to a Kwik Shop convenience store located on the west side of Pratt.
“The Pratt Police Department started searching the town looking to see if he had gotten off on a side street. The Kiowa County and Pratt Sheriff’s Department continued to the Kingman County line,” said Sgt. Edward Gimpel, Pratt Police Department.
The suspect entered the store where he shot a clerk before stealing a black Cadillac from the parking lot. The clerk, identified as 19-year-old Riley Juel, was flown to a Wichita hospital for his injuries. Juel is in critical condition. KSN talked to several people who knew Juel.
“Yea, he said that he was ready to go home because he was getting tired and had a long night ahead of him,” said Jaime Marie, Pratt resident.
“I come here all the time. It’s the neighborhood Kwik Shop. He seems like a really nice guy,” said Vanessa Aguirre, Pratt resident.
The chase resumed on Interstate 70 near Dorrance when authorities tried to stop a vehicle matching the description of the one stolen from the convenience store’s parking lot.
The trooper said authorities used tire-puncturing devices before the suspect began driving toward Wilson in Ellsworth County.
The chase ended around 8 a.m. with a crash after a tactical intervention. Deaton then was arrested.
“We strive to protect the public and to give Kansas a service courtesy protection, so I think their whole thought was they just wanted to get him apprehended,” said Trooper Tod Hileman.
In Mississippi, Deaton was being sought in the death of 30-year-old Heather Robinson. Mississippi officials also consider him a suspect in the shooting death of a woman, identified as Brenda Pinter, found dead at a rural church.
Rankin County Mississippi Sheriff Bryan Bailey told reporters that Kansas authorities have agreed to hand over Deaton.
The Pratt Police Department said charges are being sought through the Pratt County Attorney’s Office in the shooting.