VICKSBURG, Miss. – A Georgia man was shot Sunday by a man and woman who went on to rob fast-food restaurants, take two hostages during a carjacking and fire at deputies during a high-speed chase prior to their capture Monday, authorities said.
The string of crimes stretched across three states, beginning in Columbus, Georgia early Sunday and ending in Vicksburg, Mississippi, late Monday, Warren County, Mississippi, Sheriff Martin Pace told reporters Tuesday.
Sharae Dominique Threadgill, 21, of Ellerslie, Georgia, and Jalen Benton, 18, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, were captured after carjacking a mother and daughter and shooting at deputies chasing the carjacked SUV, officials said.
Pace said that one of the two hostages, forced to drive, slammed on the brakes, with both hostages jumping out.
Pace said Threadgill then took over the wheel, with Benton firing more shots. Pace said deputies shot out one of the SUV's tires and the vehicle ran out of gas, finally ending the chase.
"These are some dangerous people," Pace said. "I firmly believe the hostage driver made a lifesaving/life preserving decision when she choose to end the period where she was driving,"
A judge on Tuesday denied bail to the pair, who are jailed in Vicksburg. It's unclear if either has a lawyer. Warren County charged Benton with two counts of simple assault on a police officer, armed carjacking, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm. Threadgill is charged with armed carjacking, two counts of kidnapping, felony fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm. The two are likely to face numerous charges elsewhere.
Officials in Columbus, Georgia, say they believe Threadgill and Benton tried to rob 30-year-old Phillip Whitaker, who was found dead in a truck at an apartment around 2 a.m. Sunday. Columbus police believe he was shot in a failed armed robbery attempt at a separate apartment complex.
Police in Demopolis, Alabama, said Benton jumped through a drive-thru window at a Burger King with a pistol in each hand and stole two cash register drawers, with Threadgill acting as a getaway driver Monday evening. Less than an hour later, the two tried to rob a Jimmy John's sandwich shop in Meridian, more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, officials said. There, they again entered through the drive-thru window, but Meridian police said the suspects were foiled when a delivery driver arrived.
The two repeated the drive-thru window robbery plan at a McDonald's in Brandon, just east of Jackson, authorities said. By then, Mississippi officials were watching for the couple, and a Warren County sheriff's deputy was waiting as they traveled west on Interstate 20 toward Louisiana. The pair veered off the highway in Vicksburg, abandoning their car at a gas station as they fired at officers, officials said. They carjacked the SUV at a Sonic restaurant and sped through the narrow streets of downtown Vicksburg, police said.