A fugitive accused of shooting a police officer and a carjacking in Montgomery, AL was apprehended by law enforcement in a wooded area just off US HWY 84 west of Whitehall, LA last Sunday afternoon, according to LaSalle Sheriff Scott Franklin.
A quiet, lazy, and peaceful Sunday afternoon was interrupted when local law enforcement officials received word that a fugitive was travelling toward LaSalle Parish on US HWY 84, with officers from Concordia Parish in pursuit.
Matthew Wright, 30, reportedly was shoplifting from a major department store in Montgomery, AL early Sunday morning when a Montgomery police officer attempted to arrest him. Wright then shot the police officer and fled the scene, after carjacking a customer in the parking lot.
Around 3 PM, Sunday, OCT 5, 2014, a Ferriday, LA police officer spotted the carjacked vehicle, a 2008 Chrysler 300. He began pursuing Wright, travelling west on US HWY 84. Officers from Catahoula Parish, the Louisiana State Police and Louisiana State Police Air Support joined officers from Concordia Parish as the chase neared Jonesville, LA.
The pursuit, reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour, continued toward LaSalle Parish. Officers reported that Wright was operating the vehicle in a reckless manner; passing vehicles on the shoulder and causing vehicles to leave the roadway.
Sheriff Franklin said a roadblock was set up at the intersection of US HWY 84 and LA 28, near Texaco Towne. Wright evaded the roadblock and attempted to run over an officer. Police were able to fire several rounds into the car which began to disable the vehicle.
With officers still in pursuit, now joined by units from LaSalle Parish, Wright wrecked the vehicle at Whitehall, LA by striking a tree. He then stole a woman’s car. The carjacking victim was pulled out of her vehicle and the suspect speed away toward Jena, LA in her car.
Wright continued west on US HWY 84, traveling roughly a mile before crashing a second time, just west of the Whitehall Fire Station. He then jumped from the vehicle and ran into the woods.
Dozens of law officers and other first responders and ambulances arrived at the scene within minutes. An all-out manhunt for the suspect then began. US HWY 84 was blocked with traffic turned back in both directions as a safety precaution.
The LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office bloodhound, Judy, was brought to the scene short time later and led officers directly to the suspect, who was hiding in the woods. He was taken into custody by officers around 5:22 PM and transported to LaSalle General Hospital in Jena, LA for treatment of gunshot wounds suffered during the roadblock incident.
After receiving treatment, Wright was released from the hospital and transported to the LaSalle Correctional Center in Urania, LA. Sheriff Franklin said the investigation is complex, since it involves several different crime scenes. LA law enforcement officials will work diligently to gather and process evidence. Charges are pending, but Wright could face charges in several localities, with the most severe charges from Montgomery, AL where he reportedly shot the police officer.
Sheriff Franklin said his office sent out a message via social media outlets alerting the public to the situation and asking them to be sure their vehicles were locked and to stay in their homes with doors locked. “We did not want to take a chance the suspect would end up at someone’s home and further complicate the search,” he said.
“I want to commend the professional way all the agencies involved handled the situation,” Franklin said. “And thank them for their assistance. We especially want to say thanks to ‘Judy’ who led us right to the suspect.”
Alabama Officer Shot
Officers from Alabama said Matthew Lawrencereno Wright, stood 6’1” and weighed about 225 pounds. According to law enforcement, he has an extensive criminal history.
According to AL officials, the shooting occurred around 8:30 AM inside the Walmart located at 3801 Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery, AL. The officer, identified as Robert E. Hubbard, was responding to a reported theft at the store.
An investigation indicates that when Officer Hubbard approached Wright in the store, an altercation followed. Wright then produced a weapon and fired, striking the officer multiple times. Wright then fled to the parking lot where he reportedly stole the Chrysler from a victim at gunpoint and fled from the scene.
Officers said that the Walmart was evacuated and those inside the store were questioned to get additional details. A SWAT team entered the building in order to clear the premises and determined it to be safe. The store reopened following cleanup by hazmat crews.
Alabama Director Murphy said Officer Hubbard was transported to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery and his prognosis for recovery is good. The full extent of his injuries was not released, but officials said he received injuries to both the arm and neck.
Matthew L. Wright, 30, wanted for the shooting of a police officer in Montgomery, Alabama and carjacking early Sunday morning, was captured shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon in a wooded area just west of Whitehall. He is being led to an awaiting police unit by LaSalle Chief Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Arbogast, right, Concordia K9 Officer Dustin Lemoine, left, and LaSalle Deputy Denny Pitman, in rear. Dozens of law enforcement officers from several area agencies converged on the area to aid in the search, which ended when LPSO’s bloodhound, Judy, led officers directly to the fugitive. Wright had led officers on a cross-country chase before crashing near Whitehall. Sheriff Scott Franklin extended a special word of appreciation to all the officers who responded to the incident.
Judy, the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office bloodhound, led officers to a fugitive near Whitehall Sunday afternoon. Judy is shown with LaSalle Sheriff Scott Franklin, who said the bloodhound is one of the best investments made by the department.