Former Suspect Released, Another in Custody in Cabdriver Shooting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/20/04

Former Suspect Released, Another in Custody in Cabdriver Shooting

The suspect fled police, finally wrecking on Highway 144. The suspect fled police, finally wrecking on Highway 144.

Police say they now have the right man in custody in connection with the shooting of a Savannah cabdriver. Yesterday, police arrested David Bolton. But hours later, police received information from Lowndes County about another possible suspect. After an investigation, Savannah-Chatham police realized Bolton was the wrong man and released him.

Police found their suspect, 22-year-old John Randall Perkins, Jr., this morning. But it wasn't before he led them on a wild chase through two counties.

Police got a tip from the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department that Perkins implicated himself in cabdriver shooting while he was visiting family in Valdosta. Just hours later, he was suspected in the murder of a Valdosta man. Then this morning, Savannah-Chatham police spotted him driving the murder victim's truck on Highway 204.

Police chased Perkins all the way down I-95 to Highway 144. He veered off near the gate to Fort Stewart and crashed into a police car. But that wasn't the end of it.

His truck badly damaged, Perkins took off again down Highway 144, pointing a gun at officers. This time, he made it just a few blocks before losing control, running into an undercover Bryan County sheriff's detective.

Eyewitness Brad Brookshire, on his way to work, missed being in the middle of it by seconds. "Just a lot of screeching of tires," he recalled. "By the time I had gotten out of my truck, he had already been hit and spun around. He did about a 180 on 144. It was a little scary to see the cops coming out with the guns blazing and hollering and screaming at this guy."

The force of the accident slammed Perkins into the windshield. Police pulled him out, bloody and beaten, his gun still in the truck, but they weren't taking any chances.

"Perkins was desperate," said SCMPD spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson. "He had already shot a cabdriver. He is suspected of killing someone else in Lowndes County and he showed a propensity for violence by brandishing that firearm and pointing it towards officers in the pursuit."

Perkins was airlifted to Memorial Health University where at last report he was undergoing surgery. Charges against him are pending.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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