A multiple-murder suspect in Tennessee has been taken into custody following a seven day manhunt. Investigators said earlier yesterday they were closing in on Kirby Wallace using helicopters and dogs after he was spotted for the third time in Stewart County.
Wallace was captured by Henry County sheriff’s officials between Stewart and Montgomery counties, according to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Sandra Brandon. He’s alleged to have committed crimes in both jurisdictions.
A picture released by the Tennessee Highway Patrol showed law enforcement taking the 53-year-old into custody in a wooded area. In the photo, Wallace appears dirty and is wearing camouflage clothing. The station reports he was heavily armed.
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew, who made the arrest along with Cpl. Stacey Bostwick, attributed the capture to “sheer luck.” He said he and Bostwick had used a bloodhound to determine Wallace’s direction of travel early yesterday. The two decided to move a short distance ahead of the “hot zone” where authorities had been searching. Belew said he and Bostwick positioned themselves in two hunting stands shortly after daylight that allowed them to view a large wooded area and a field from an elevated position.
Around 10:15, Belew said he saw someone moving about 40 yards away from him and was able to identify the man as Wallace.
He said he allowed Wallace to continue moving until he was about 25 yards away and then Belew pointed a rifle at him, identified himself as a sheriff and ordered Wallace to walk towards him and put his hands to the side. Bostwick pointed a gun at Wallace at well, Belew said.
Belew said Wallace was cooperative at first, but then stepped behind a tree and came out to the left of the tree with his hands by his waist. Belew said he anticipated a firefight, but Wallace put his hands back up and went down to his knees.
Belew and Bostwick handcuffed Wallace and found a loaded handgun in his waistband.
“We were fortunate we didn’t wind up in a shootout with the suspect,” Belew said. “It crossed his mind — it crossed his mind because he told us it crossed his mind — but he thought we had the drop on him.”
He said they “happened to be in the right place a the right time.”
Stewart County Sheriff Frankie Gray says Wallace will likely be taken to the Stewart County Jail after a medical exam.
Wallace is wanted on multiple charges after being accused of attacking a couple and setting their house on fire September 23, killing the wife and seriously injuring the husband. Four days later, police suspect he tied up and robbed an elderly woman in her home in nearby Montgomery County.
On Monday, police believe he shot and killed a man and then stole his pickup truck, which was found crashed a few miles away.
Authorities had been scouring the woods, which have caves and other hiding places. Area schools had been placed on “soft lockdown” and have cancelled school bus routes to avoid having children exposed.
Wallace is also believed to have tied up and robbed a woman in May. That woman’s daughter says he was released from jail after her mother unexpectedly died a month later.