PROGRESS, Miss. — Residents of Louisiana’s Florida Parishes and adjoining southwestern Mississippi have tales of terror about Kaunda Magee, who was under guard Thursday in a McComb hospital.
Though residents of Pike County and Tangipahoa Parish have been frightened, many also resolved to take up arms to protect themselves from the fugitive who eluded authorities for most of this month.
A resident’s small-bore shotgun took Magee down Wednesday afternoon.
Before that, Magee had stuck a stolen pistol in the faces of several people, but the only human blood shed in a three-week manhunt was Magee’s.
After Magee was wounded by a Louisiana state trooper searching a camper Wednesday afternoon, he crashed through the camper’s back window, put a gun to the face of the owner who then fled, authorities said.
When Magee turned around with his pistol leveled a few paces later, a friend of the camper owner felled Magee with a blast from a single-shot .410-gauge shotgun, the camper owner said Thursday.
That ended a manhunt that began Oct. 3 after Magee allegedly invaded a home in Pine, and raped the male occupant, said Scott Blair, the chief criminal deputy for the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In a subsequent chase, shots were fired at deputies and a trooper, said Louisiana State Police spokesman Nick Manale, of Troop L in Covington.
Ten days later, Washington Parish deputies located Magee and tried to take him into custody in northern Tangipahoa Parish.
Magee fled into the woods, beginning a two-week manhunt during which he allegedly broke into several camps and homes, stole a gun, tied a woman up, threatened people at gunpoint and shot a police dog, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said.
One of those people was Cinda Parmelee.
She returned to her home around lunchtime Oct. 20.
She reached to open the curtain over a closet when a hand grabbed her arm.
Kaunda Magee put a gun in her face, she said.
Magee forced Parmelee to get down on the floor of the closet where he bound her with leather straps and sashes from bathrobes.
He lowered blinds and locked every door and window in her house, she said.
Magee moved Parmelee to a bunk bed in a front bedroom “so he could keep an eye on me,” she said.
Magee was nervous, constantly checking out the windows to see if anyone was coming, Parmelee said.
When a man called Turk, who does odd jobs for Parmelee, knocked on the door, Magee told her he was going to shoot her friend.
“He picked the wrong day,” she recounted Magee as saying.
Parmelee begged Magee not to shoot Turk, saying he was an honest man.
Eventually, Turk left.
During the nearly two hours Magee held Parmelee, she had opportunities to witness both his vicious side and a kinder side, she said.
When her brother called her cellphone, Magee pushed the phone into her face and asked who it was.
When she told him, Magee wanted to know if her brother would come over.
“Not necessarily,” she told him.
“Good, because if he does, I will have to shoot him, Turk and you,” Magee told her. “I can’t take those chances.”
At other times, Magee seemed concerned about her comfort, she said.
“He asked me if I wanted something to drink, or a cigarette,” she said. “At one point, he turned on the air conditioner after he asked if I was hot.”
She also said Magee became concerned she was cold, and covered her with a blanket.
He also seemed not to know much about where he was.
“Where’s the nearest town?” Magee asked, Parmelee said.
He didn’t know where Kentwood was, she said.
Magee became spooked a couple of times when Parmelee’s parrot, George, who was in a cage on the porch, spoke, she said.
While Parmelee lay tied up in her bedroom, Turk had gone to her brother’s house a couple of hundred yards away, David Parmelee said.
David Parmelee phoned his sister, and when he got no answer, went down to his sister’s house.
He knocked on the windows and found the screen door locked, which was unusual, he said.
Parmelee let himself in through the front door and noticed the bedroom door was closed, he said.
When he reached to open it, Magee threw it open and put a gun in David Parmelee’s face.
“One move, and you’re dead,” Magee said, using an expletive, David Parmelee said.
David Parmelee spun and ducked, and Magee issued another warning.
“If you run, I will shoot you,” Parmelee recalled Magee saying.
David Parmelee ran to the front door, bobbing and weaving.
Outside the door, he ran the length of the porch, dove over the railing; Magee never fired a shot at him, David Parmelee said.
Meanwhile, Cinda Parmelee, who had worked herself free from her bonds, dove out of a bedroom window after discovering Magee had taken a .22-caliber handgun, she said, which he is accused of later using to shoot a police dog.
A few seconds after Cinda Parmelee jumped outside of her house, Magee roared out of the driveway in her silver Hummer H3.
Moments after that, a police officer spotted him, and Magee ditched the Hummer and fled into the woods, officials said.
Magee may have been hiding on her property for some time, Parmelee said.
She later noticed a building on her property had a door kicked in, and another had a broken window.
Cinda Parmelee said she was certain she would die.
“I was wondering who I would see when I died,” she said.
Now, she feels Magee never intended to shoot her.
“I don’t think he’s a killer,” she said.
Magee remained hidden in the woods in northern Tangipahoa Parish until Tuesday, when he stole a Chevrolet Suburban on M.C. Carter Road just south of the state line and fled north.
The truck owner, Larry Singleton, said his son heard Magee start the SUV’s engine.
“My son woke up before me, when he heard his truck start up,” said Singleton, 56.
Singleton, his son, and his son-in-law jumped in another truck to follow him, Singleton said.
They reasoned Magee must have headed north toward Mississippi because “There were too many cops in Louisiana,” Singleton said.
When they spotted Magee just across the state line on Pumping Station Road, the trio called 911, Singleton said.
Magee had backed the Suburban into a ditch and tried to flag them down, Singleton said.
The three didn’t stop, but turned around and headed back with the intention of subduing him themselves, Singleton said.
By the time they pulled up to the bogged-down Suburban, Magee had disappeared.
When Pike County sheriff’s deputies arrived, Singleton said, they spotted Magee near a house.
“There he is! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” Singleton said his son-in-law yelled.
The officers opened fire, and Magee fled into the woods, Singleton said.
Magee never fired on the deputies, Singleton said.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office had reported Magee opened fired on the deputies.
The focus of the search moved to the wooded area off Pumping Station Road, and Mississippi authorities joined the hunt.
The next afternoon, Richard Montet and a friend were working on a project in Montet’s yard when a Louisiana State Police trooper taking part in the manhunt showed up to check a pair of trailers parked on Montet’s property.
Like several other residents of the area interviewed, Montet said he had a loaded gun nearby because people knew a fugitive was still on the loose.
When the trooper walked toward one of the camper trailers Wednesday afternoon, Montet heard a noise inside.
He said he warned the trooper that nobody should be in the camper.
Montet said the trooper entered the camper and he heard him order someone to “put the gun down!”
Shots erupted and a moment later, Magee crashed through the camper’s back window and Montet said he found himself facing into the barrel of Magee’s pistol.
“But he didn’t shoot me,” Montet said.
He said Magee then ran a few paces as the trooper came around the side of the vehicle, and Magee turned around pointing his pistol at them.
Montet said his friend, who had picked up his wife’s “snake gun,” fired the single-barrel .410, dropping Magee.
Marilyn Montet said she was inside ironing clothes when she heard the shots.
“I got really nervous because I didn’t know who had been shot,” she said.
She said she has nothing bad to say about Magee, because he didn’t kill her husband.
Richard Montet said he feels the trooper saved his life by checking the camper when he did.
“In a few minutes I was going to go in the trailer and get a drink out of the icebox,” Richard Montet said.
Montet’s friend, who fired the shot, declined an interview request Thursday and asked not to be identified out of fear for his family’s safety.
Pike County Sheriff Mark Shepherd said Magee remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon with multiple wounds.
District Attorney Rick Wood, of the 22nd Judicial District, said he would file papers to extradite Magee to Louisiana.