PRATT, KANSAS (KRQE) – An accused killer from Mississippi struck in New Mexico before continuing his crime spree in Kansas.
Alex Deaton is accused of murdering two people and shooting three others over the last seven days.
Tuesday night, he ended up in Albuquerque where deputies say he kidnapped a couple at La Luz Trail, at one point shooting the man.
Investigators believe it all started in Mississippi with the murder of his girlfriend in Rankin County. Late Thursday, an hour and a half west in Neshoba County, police say he shot and killed a woman at a Baptist church and then traveled back to Rankin County and shot and injured a jogger.
By that time, authorities knew who they were looking for and issued an alert to law enforcement. On Saturday, Deaton was spotted in Tulsa.
He apparently made his way to New Mexico where deputies say Deaton was on the hunt for a getaway car. They say he targeted a couple on their way back from a hike Tuesday night in Albuquerque. Deputies say Deaton forced the couple into the trunk of their car at gunpoint.
They were able to pull the emergency release latch to get out. Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office says Deaton shot the man’s buttocks as he escaped.
The woman was not able to get away and Deaton’s accused of forcing her to a nearby home at gunpoint.
According to deputies, Deaton made that homeowner give up the keys to the van in her driveway, and drove off with his female hostage down Forest Road. That’s when the female hiker was able to escape.
Investigators say Deaton ditched the van and got back into the couple’s white Honda.
Deputies had the area closed off for hours, leaving residents nearby wondering what was going on.
“I didn’t know how close it was, or how real all this was, or even what the gravity of the situation was. This is the first time I’m hearing any of the details,” resident Jim Hutchins said.
Investigators say they figured out who Deaton was when they found a GMC SUV in a nearby picnic area. It was around midnight when they connected the vehicle to Deaton and the murders in Mississippi.
Deputies say that’s one of the reasons why it took so long to release information to the public about how dangerous Deaton was. Deputies have not released the names of the two people Deaton kidnapped.
KRQE News 13 does know the woman is 18-years old. Sandoval County says the man suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Deaton was found early Wednesday morning in Pratt, Kansas, where he allegedly shot a convenience store clerk. He was caught an hour and a half away in Ellsworth, Kansas after a chase and a fiery crash.