Video evidence reportedly shows that the store employee was outside the business doing his daily routine as the suspect vehicle pulled into the parking lot. Two armed suspects got out of the vehicle carrying shotguns and confronted the employee. An altercation occurred and the employee was shot with a shotgun blast. The suspects then walked past the wounded employee, went in the business and took cash and merchandise from the business and drove away.
WPSO detectives were able to quickly identify the suspects, who fled Washington Parish to Pearl River County, Mississippi, and then to Montgomery County, Alabama. An alert deputy with the Montgomery County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office spotted the suspects’ vehicle on I-65 south of the City of Montgomery and gave chase. The three suspects were eventually captured and transported to the Montgomery County Jail for safekeeping. Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives traveled to Montgomery and interviewed the three suspects identified as Lance Hunter Rouse (24) of Picayune, Mississippi, Levi Austin Lee (17) of Carriere, Mississippi, and Melissa Michelle Smith (29) of Tylertown, Mississippi. The three suspects voluntarily waived extradition to Louisiana.
“As I said previously, our detectives did an outstanding job solving this case quickly, seeing the suspects captured within hours,” stated Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal. “I am so grateful for all our officers did and thankful for the excellent help we received from other law enforcement agencies in the capture and return of the fugitives to Washington Parish. Sheriffs David Allison of Pearl River County, Mississippi, Kyle Breland of Walthall County, Mississippi, Derrick Cunningham of Montgomery County, Alabama, and Sam Cochran of Mobile County, Alabama, along with their respective staffs, went above and beyond the call of duty to assist us. This is yet another example of the excellent law enforcement partnerships we have with other Sheriff’s Offices. They always stand ready to assist us just as we always stand ready to assist them.”