WRIGHT CITY, Mo. — Law officers using dogs and helicopters searched Tuesday for a fugitive accused of killing at least two people and wounding a policeman during a three-state crime spree.
Some residents of this small town kept their doors locked and their guns loaded, as more than 100 heavily armed officers conducted the hunt for Michael W. Jackson, 41, of Indianapolis.
Jackson has vowed not to be taken alive, officials said. He was believed to be armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a pistol.
Tied to Third Slaying
Authorities said Jackson streaked his face silver Monday morning, shot his probation officer in Indianapolis, killed a robbery victim and may be linked to a third slaying that occurred near where he was last seen outside Wright City, about 45 miles west of St. Louis.
Police in nearby St. Peters said Earl D. Finn, 47, of O'Fallon, was first listed as a traffic fatality after his car veered off Interstate 70 and hit a pole Monday evening, but an autopsy revealed a shotgun wound to the head.
"The victim's car kind of looked like a police officer's car," a St. Peters police supervisor said. "We've got a theory that Jackson thought Finn was a police officer and shot him."
About 20 minutes later and 10 miles away, Jackson allegedly stole two cars, abducted one man and fired a shotgun blast that wounded a Wright City police officer in the face, police said.
He then reportedly crashed a stolen Cadillac and fled on foot, prompting a house-to-house search.
Residents of the town of 1,200 were urged to stay indoors. Schools were not canceled, but attendance at Wright City Elementary School was said to be about half of the 511 enrollment.
"I noticed when the school bus went down our road this morning, it didn't make one stop," said Pam Gerdeman, operations manager at Farmers & Merchants Bank. "I guess parents were afraid to let their children go to school."
Authorities said Jackson has a history of mental problems and a lengthy criminal record.
The rampage began at Jackson's home when he shot and killed probation officer Thomas Gahl, 38, homicide Capt. Dennis Hawkins said. Gahl apparently intended to serve some legal papers.
Jackson fled in a stolen pickup truck and drove to a market where he ordered Jim Hall to give him money, Hawkins said. When Hall was slow in responding, he was shot in the throat.
Five Taken Hostage
Five people then were briefly taken hostage or robbed and their cars commandeered as Jackson made his way across Indiana and Illinois and into eastern Missouri.
One woman broke an ankle jumping from her car to escape. A sixth person was found slightly injured in the trunk of his own car outside Wright City.
"What our fear is, is that he has someone hostage in a house," Capt. John Ford of the Missouri Highway Patrol said.
Orville Scarbrough said he and his wife were not taking any chances.
"I'm not too afraid for myself personally, but she's pretty scared," he said. "I do admit I slept with my gun next to my head all last night."