KENTWOOD — A man sought on aggravated rape and four attempted murder counts carries on with his crime spree while more than a dozen agencies search for him in a wooded area, authorities said Thursday.
Since a home invasion case on Oct. 3, Kaunda Lopaz Magee has survived three car chases, a police dog bite and a search by helicopters with heat-detecting devices, officials said.
Magee also has re-supplied himself while eluding capture by committing a series of burglaries in the wooded area in which authorities are searching for him, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said Thursday.
In one of those cases, Magee tied up a woman while he showered, changed into stolen clothes and took provisions, Edwards said.
In that case on Tuesday, the woman’s adult son returned home, but Magee held him off with a pistol he had taken from the residence, Edwards said.
Magee then took a vehicle from the driveway, but deputies, who were alerted to the theft, gave chase and Magee abandoned the vehicle and again fled into the woods, the sheriff said.
The series of events began Oct. 3 during another home invasion in Pine. That case also included an aggravated rape, authorities said.
After that case, Washington Parish deputies and State Police chased Magee while shots were fired at the pursuers, said Nick Manale, a spokesman for Troop L.
Last week, Washington Parish deputies again tried to apprehend Magee — this time on La. 38 in Tangipahoa Parish — but he jumped from his vehicle and fled into a large wooded area where authorities said he has been hiding ever since.
Almost a week later, on Wednesday, a police dog caught up with the fugitive. Magee fought with the dog, pulling “hair off its back,” before shooting the animal, said Capt. Don Alexander, of the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office.
When authorities reached the spot where the dog had been wounded, they found a trail of Magee’s blood that stretched for 200 to 300 yards, Alexander said.
Authorities don’t know if that blood was all from the dog’s bite of if Magee wounded himself when he shot the police dog, Titan, Alexander said.
Titan, which a veterinarian determined to have human blood on its teeth, is expected to recover, Edwards said Thursday.
Bloodhounds and other dogs have picked up Magee’s trail several times and then lost it in the heavy underbrush, Edwards said.
“He’s very savvy” when it comes to dogs, the sheriff said. “He has an uncanny ability to elude bloodhounds.”
Strong winds have limited “the ability of the dogs to track,” Edwards said.
In addition to dogs, the search has employed helicopters with heat-seeking devices and searchers with night-vision equipment, he said.
The sheriff said he believes Magee is still in a 20- to 25-square-mile perimeter that the Sheriff’s Office has set up with the help of more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies.
Deputies have been searching vacant buildings and are going door-to-door inside the perimeter to check on residents and to warn them to keep their homes locked, Edwards said.
Most area residents have guns and now many of those guns are loaded, he said.
Among garments Magee has stolen are some articles of camouflage clothing, Edwards said.
Alexander said there have been five residential burglaries and at least two burglaries of camps in the area during the week authorities have been searching for Magee.
The stolen items mainly have been food and clothes, but have included one or more guns, Alexander said.
In the last sighting, which occurred early Wednesday, Magee reportedly was wearing jeans and a brown T-shirt, said Dawn Panepinto, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Magee, 36, is wanted on warrants for aggravated rape, kidnapping, criminal damage to property and four counts of attempted murder of police officers, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.