A man who was wanted by law enforcement officers in Ohio fled and hid in an Oak Ridge church after a traffic stop Sunday morning, but an Anderson County K-9 unit found him hiding in a bathroom closet after a two-hour search, authorities said.
The pursuit began after the Oak Ridge Police Department stopped a vehicle on South Tulane Avenue at Wilson Street for a window tint violation at about 10:37 a.m. Sunday, April 11, the City of Oak Ridge said Monday.
After the initial contact with the driver, the driver fled from his vehicle on foot toward the First United Methodist Church at 1350 Oak Ridge Turnpike, the city said.
A police officer chased the suspect on foot and saw him enter the church, the city said.
“It was learned that the suspect, identified as Casey John Jones of Columbus, Ohio, was wanted by authorities in Ohio with full extradition,” the city said. “The charges in Ohio were narcotics- and weapons-related and that Jones should be considered armed and dangerous.”
Johns ran in as churchgoers were leaving the 10 a.m. service, according to church members. The church canceled its 11 a.m. service and Worship on the Lawn at 1 p.m. because the building was being searched and cleared.
Officers who responded established a perimeter around the church and evacuated church members.
“A K-9 Unit from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office was requested to assist with a building search for the suspect,” the city said. “The suspect was located by the K-9 inside the church and was taken into custody without incident.”
First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge is a large building with many places to hide. The church was evacuated, and a room-to-room search was conducted, the Sheriff’s Office said. It was led by ACSO K-9 Baron and his handler Sergeant Jon Acker.
“The search lasted nearly two hours until K-9 Baron alerted on a bathroom closet door,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The door was opened, and the suspect surrendered immediately and was taken into custody.” No one was injured.
Records posted by the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton said that Johns, 30, was booked into the jail at about 1 p.m. Sunday, and the listed charges included fugitive from justice, evading arrest, resisting arrest, and violation of the window tint law.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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