After exchanging shots with fugitive Kaunda Lopaz Magee, Tangipahoa Parish deputies said they began tracking him in a new area Tuesday.
This time, he appears to have blended into Mississippi woodlands just like he did for more than two weeks in northeastern Tangipahoa Parish.
The intensive ground search for the fugitive, assisted by police dogs and helicopters, continued Tuesday evening, officials in Pike County, Miss., said.
Magee stole a sport utility vehicle in northern Tangipahoa Parish on Tuesday morning and ran it into a ditch just north of the Louisiana-Mississippi boundary line, said Dawn Panepinto of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Magee fired at Tangipahoa deputies, who arrived before he could get the SUV out of the ditch. Magee apparently got stuck in the ditch when he backed up the vehicle in an attempt to turn it around, she said.
Deputies returned fire as Magee fled into the woods, but deputies said they didn’t know whether or not they hit the running man. None of the deputies were injured, according to the spokeswoman.
Unlike the incident in which Magee fought with a police dog named Titan in the woods last week, tearing out some of the dog’s fur before shooting him, authorities said Magee left no bloody trail Tuesday. The dog was recovering from the gunshot wound, officials said.
Magee, 36, is wanted on warrants for aggravated rape, kidnapping, criminal damage to property and four counts of attempted murder of police officers in connection with an Oct. 3 home invasion in Washington Parish and a subsequent chase, authorities have reported.
Pike County authorities have had good communications with people living in the area, which isn’t heavily populated, said Steve Rushing of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.
By Tuesday morning, Tangipahoa deputies had been searching for Magee for more than two weeks in a large, wooded area northeast of Kentwood.
During that search, Magee broke into houses, stole food and clothes, tied up a woman and stole a car as well as shooting the police dog, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said.
Prior to Tuesday morning’s SUV theft, Magee had already survived three car chases. In the first of those he fired shots at the Washington Parish deputes and a Louisiana state trooper who were pursuing him, said Nick Manale, a spokesman for State Police at Troop L.
Tuesday morning’s car theft was the second attributed to Magee since Oct. 15, when the fugitive went into hiding in Tangipahoa Parish, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they caught up with Magee twice, but he fled back into the woods in both cases.
After Magee darted into the woods Tuesday morning, dogs picked up his trail and he was later spotted near a home, Panepinto said.
Tangipahoa Parish and Pike County deputies and officials from other agencies have set up a perimeter that covers an area 8 miles by 6 miles near where Magee abandoned the stolen SUV on Pumping Station Road north of State Line Road, Panepinto said.
The area is west of Progress and about 10 miles east of Interstate 55.
People on M.C. Carter Road in Tangipahoa Parish immediately reported the theft of an SUV Tuesday morning, Panepinto said.
Deputies spotted the vehicle less than 20 minutes later and chased Magee into the woods, Panepinto said.