Manhunt in Jefferson County after man shots at deputy

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. - Authorities with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are searching for a man who opened fire on deputies Thursday afternoon and ran into a wooded area.

Deputies were initially called to the intersection of Highway JJ and Highway T in Valley Mines in response to calls of a suspicious person.

Authorities described the person as a Caucasian man wearing a multi colored-reddish flannel. They later found the flannel jacket and a backpack on the roadway somewhere.

They said he pulled out a handgun when officers tried to make verbal contact and shot at deputies before running off into the woods. Luckily none of the deputies involved were injured.

“It’s still preliminary on this, but we think he fired about four shots originally,” said Captain Gary Higginbotham, Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office. “The officer was not hit, but his patrol car (was hit) near the driver side door (I) believe the front quarter panel. Subject then fled the area. Officers arrived a short time later … and set up a parameter and heard about four or five more shots, not from law enforcement, but assumed from the suspect, but nobody saw him at the time ever since then.”

The St. Louis County Police Department and local SWAT units continued to canvas a very heavily-wooded area into late Thursday afternoon looking for the man. Higginbotham said the search ended once it got dark.

Authorities recovered a stolen vehicle from the area. Higginbotham said the suspicious individual was seen near the vehicle when the sheriff's office was first notified.

Residents and witnesses in the area were asked to view a photo lineup, Higginbotham said.

De Soto school administrators said two bus routes were affected by the search for the suspect. Parents were notified and came to pick up students.