Mississippi man charged in violent crime spree

Published 11:26 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Mississippi man was being treated Wednesday at a Memphis hospital after he was shot during a 45-minute crime spree in which he’s accused of killing one person, kidnapping another, robbing a grocery store and injuring a sheriff’s deputy.

Authorities say Mario Taylor, 26, of Tate County, is charged with murder, attempted capital murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, domestic violence and armed robbery in a spree that began with a domestic violence call Tuesday evening.

The names of the person killed, the deputy and the kidnapping victim were withheld by authorities while the investigation continues.

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DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion revealed the charges against Taylor at a news conference in Tate County in north Mississippi near Memphis, Tenn.

Champion said Taylor’s crime spree began with a 5:28 p.m. domestic violence call, but Taylor had already taken the unnamed victim’s vehicle and left before authorities arrived.

From there, Taylor is accused of shooting and killing another person whose body was found inside a vehicle near a grocery store Taylor is accused of robbing at gunpoint, Champion said. He said Taylor then went to another home and kidnapped a relative.

Champion said the family member was able to escape unharmed after a deputy spotted the stolen car and pursued Taylor from Tate County into neighboring Marshall County.

Taylor led the deputy on a short chase on Mississippi Highway 309, Champion said, and when the deputy stopped him and exited his patrol car, the suspect rammed his car into the police cruiser, pinning the deputy between the two cars.

“We initially thought he might have a broken leg,” the district attorney said. “He was bruised and battered.”

Champion said the deputy has been treated and released from the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.

Taylor allegedly fired shots at the deputy, who returned fire, striking the suspect, who is expected to recover. The family member escaped when the deputy stopped Taylor, officials said.

Since Taylor is in Memphis, Tate County authorities may have to seek extradition to bring him home to face the charges.

Authorities have not talked to Taylor, who had misdemeanor offenses on his record, and they have no motive.

“Very unusual,” Champion said. “Tate County is a very quiet county. … Things like this don’t happen down here.”