Joaquin Steven Blackwell walked out of the woods and surrendered to authorities Saturday, 24 hours after an intense search for him began in Mendenhall, Mississippi.
Blackwell, 22, is suspected of killing Simpson County Deputy James Blair after undergoing an involuntary psychiatric evaluation Friday at the Region 8 Mental Health facility on Smith Road in Mendenhall.
Reportedly, Blair was transferring Blackwell back into his car when Blackwell grabbed Blair’s gun, shot him and fled.
It is not clear why Blackwell was in the custody of the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Paul Mullins told reporters he did not know the details of the court order that mandated Blackwell’s psychiatric evaluation but did tell reporters that such orders are “usually signed by a family member.”
Law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions joined in the search for Blackwell Saturday, scouring the area from the ground and the air. Mullins believed he had never left the area, and he was right.
Around 2 p.m. Saturday, Blackwell walked out of the woods behind the Shell gas station across the street from the Region 8 facility and surrendered without incident.
Deputy Blair, 77, had spent most of his life in law enforcement. He was still on the job to support his three grandsons after their mother’s death.
The search for evidence in the case, including Blair’s gun, continued after Blair’s capture.See a typo? Report it here.