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MDOC escapee ran at schools, had knife

Published 11:51 am Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Vicksburg man who escaped Mississippi Department of Corrections officers and ran toward two school buildings in January was armed with a butcher knife.

The details surrounding his arrest were revealed last week when Williams, 21, pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon after felony conviction and was sentenced by Circuit Judge M. James Chaney to two years in prison followed by five years’ probation.

Williams brought the butcher knife with him when he reported to the Mississippi Department of Corrections office on Clay Street at about 1 p.m. Jan. 7, according to a MDOC case report.

“I asked the offender why did he have a butcher knife on him in which he advised that he needed it for protection,” an MDOC officer wrote in the report.

The report is not signed, nor does it include the officer’s name.

Two MDOC officers attempted to arrest Williams but after a struggle that injured one officer, he was able to escape.

MDOC did not notify the Vicksburg Warren School District because Williams, who was out of prison on earned release supervision for robbery, was not deemed dangerous and showed no intent of entering either campus, MDOC officials said in January.

“If our field officers believe they (fleeing suspects) are armed, you can sure believe they notify schools,” MDOC spokesman Tara Booth said told the Vicksburg Post in January.

Williams fled south from Clay Street along Mission 66 toward Vicksburg and Warren Central junior high schools. Had he gone east, he would have come close to Grove Street School, and had he decided to turn north, he would have been within feet of Vicksburg Catholic Schools.

Police radio traffic indicated Williams was never out of sight from law enforcement, and he was captured in a wooded area between Clay Street and Baldwin Ferry Road.

“I got in my vehicle and call (sic) 911 requesting backup, giving descriptions of the offender, location and advising that he was armed,” the MDOC officer wrote in the report released last week.