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Warren County aids Simpson County in evidence search



Simpson County Deputy James Blair, killed in the line of duty June 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy SCSO)

Monday, six Warren County Fire Services personnel and a sergeant from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Simpson County to assist in a search for evidence in the slaying of Simpson County Deputy James Blair.

They joined almost 200 firefighters and law enforcement officers who participated in the search to recover potential evidence in what is a capital murder case.

Joaquin Stevens Blackwell

Friday, Blair transported Joaquin Blackwell to an involuntary psychiatric evaluation at the Region 8 mental health facility in Mendenhall. After the appointment, Blair was escorting Blackwell to his car when Blackwell grabbed Blair’s gun, shot him and fled.

Blackwell was captured within 24 hours and has been charged with capital murder in the killing of a peace officer.

Many of the searchers are members of the Mid-Mississippi Strike Team, trained in overland search, rescue and recovery techniques and operations.

Among the items recovered Monday were Deputy Blair’s weapon, the waist chains Blackwell was wearing, and the handcuff key used to unlock the chains and cuffs.

Participating in the search from Warren County was Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs; E-911 Director and Northeast Fire Chief Shane Garrard; Capt. Chuck Tate (Culkin); firefighters Antonio Austin (Bovina), John Terry (Bovina) and Chris Jones (Northeast); and deputy Sgt. Jonathan Hern.

Hern oversees property and evidence for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and has specialized training in recovery and processing of evidence.


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