CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A weeklong manhunt for a suspect wanted in the killings of four people ended without another shot fired Monday morning as hundreds of officers surrounded him in South Carolina, authorities said.
Channel 9 South Carolina reporter Greg Suskin tweeted around 10:30 a.m. that he heard deputies cheering and clapping and that Tyler Terry had been found and taken into custody.
A short time later, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that Terry had been captured and that everyone involved, including Terry, was safe.
He was then brought to the law enforcement command post and checked out by EMS before heading to jail.
(Watch: Community relieved suspect is behind bars after intense manhunt)
“I’d like to thank law enforcement for having mercy on my son and resolving the issue the way they did,” Tyler Terry’s father, John Terry, said. “Obviously, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and everybody that was affected.”
It will be a while before Terry’s case is resolved in the criminal justice system. South Carolina is a death penalty state.
“Obviously, he’s my son,” John Terry said. “I love him. He’s a human being and I just hope everything is evaluated the right way. Like I said, I don’t believe my son was in his right mind.”
Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey spoke to reporters around 11:30 a.m. and shed more light on the details surrounding Terry’s capture, saying the accused killer was taken into custody about an hour earlier and that no shots were fired.
“Considering the conditions he was in, he is in relatively good health,” Dorsey said. “He was provided medical assistance and was hydrated.”
The sheriff said Terry was taken to the Chester County Detention Center where he will stay until Tuesday’s 1 p.m. bond hearing.
“I don’t have to tell you how elated we are,” Dorsey told Channel 9. “I’m so proud of the men and women out here.”
Greg Suskin tweeted a photograph of Terry in handcuffs. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt with no shoes on.
The sheriff explained why it was so hard to capture Terry, who had been on the run for seven days.
“Mr. Terry was extremely fast, agile -- and it adds to the dynamic that he had nothing to lose based on what he was facing,” Dorsey said. “It was extremely difficult to set up a tight perimeter so we called in more people. Yesterday, we got a break. He was seen running across Highway 9. He was seen by some Chester deputies and we began setting up that perimeter. We just built up that perimeter and yesterday was the break we were looking for. That was his mistake.”
Dorsey said they did not send more officers into the woods on Sunday evening because it wasn’t safe.
“We lost daylight and with him being armed, it just wasn’t safe,” he said. “We reinforced that perimeter and overnight we created layers in that perimeter.”
According to Dorsey, law enforcement developed “push teams” to go into the perimeter looking for Terry. One of those push teams from the ATF found him lying down in high grass or weeds and was able to arrest Terry quickly, Dorsey said.
The sheriff said Terry did not have a gun on him but there was one close to him. He said the fugitive did not put up a fight.
“He was still conscious,” Dorsey said. “I believe he was ready to run but he was surrounded and had nowhere to go. He was tired and thirsty. He was all cut up, bug bites, clothes torn. He’s exhausted.”
More than 300 law enforcement officers in Chester County were searching for Terry, who was wanted in connection with at least four murders.
“I’m proud for these men and women,” Dorsey said. “There are people up there who haven’t seen their wives of children all week and they sacrificed their own lives to keep Chester County safe.”
For a week, people in the small community have been scared. They’ve been told to stay in their homes and lock their doors.
Many were worried that a man charged with killing four people could be right outside and some told Channel 9 they’ll lock their doors from now on.
“I used to not have to lock my doors, but now I do, but I’m very relieved and I’m sure the whole town is,” one neighbor said.
One neighbor told Channel 9 that he believes Terry was in his barn for a while. Another one said that he rang her doorbell and she’s convinced that he was trying to trick his way into her home.
“After two doorbell rings he walked through the yard behind the tulip tree and around the cars and at that point I dialed 911,” resident Jessica Underwood said. “I immediately told them he rang our doorbell and where we were and within a minute or two, cops came flying in. The helicopter was flying. It was really nerve wracking.”
(WATCH: Chester County sheriff gives update after taking murder suspect Tyler Terry into custody)
Father of accused killer says his son wasn’t raised this way
Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis spoke with Terry’s father, John Terry, who said he’s relieved the manhunt is over and that his son was taken into custody alive without any more violence.
On Friday, John Terry said he was worried about how it would all end but now he said he’s anxious to talk to Terry to find out what happened.
He said his son wasn’t raised this way and he has serious concerns about Terry’s mental health.
“I’m just very relieved and our hearts and prayers go out to all the families that were affected by this but it’s not over yet, we still have a lot to go through,” he said. “I’m just happy that, like I said, it was a peaceful resolution.”
Curtis also spoke to Adrienne Simpson’s mom, Carol Dewitt. She said she was fearful of how things would end but she was also fearful of her own safety and for her grandchildren because Simpson and Terry are charged with killing her grandkids’ father, Eugene Simpson.
“With him being captured, I can actually try to breathe a little bit, I didn’t know if he was going to come down here to try to hurt me. Like I said, he’s threatened me,” she said.
Dewitt also told Channel 9 that she’s glad Terry was captured because she wants there to be a trial for her son-in-law’s death.
Manhunt for accused killer enters seventh day
The manhunt for Terry entered its seventh day on Monday and Channel 9 crews reporting from the law enforcement staging area around dawn could see numerous personnel, equipment and helicopters gathered to help in the efforts to locate the 26-year-old.
>> Watch Channel 9 reporter Anthony Kustura’s Monday morning update below.
Authorities said Sunday night that they believe they had closed in on Terry, who is accused of four killings in two states and had eluded police for a week.
Channel 9 learned that more than 300 officers were on the ground searching for Terry in the area of Highway 9 and Richburg Road. On Sunday afternoon, authorities told Channel 9 they were actively chasing Terry in that area.
Terry had been on the run since May 17 when police said he fired shots at deputies during a high-speed chase in Chester County. The woman who was driving the car Terry was in, Adrienne Simpson, crashed on Highway 9 and Terry ran into the woods. He had been on the run ever since.
Simpson, 34, was taken into custody after crashing following the 30-mile chase that reached speeds of 100 mph, officials said. Her husband, Eugene, was found dead last Wednesday in a ditch, Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker said. He had been missing since at least May 2.
The sheriff’s office said Friday that Terry and Simpson were charged with murder in his death.
Terry is connected to four killings and multiple shootings spanning from South Carolina to Missouri.
According to investigators, an officer spotted Terry around 2:40 p.m. on Sunday near Ligon Road. That officer chased him and when he got close to Mt. Ararat AME Zion Church, Terry ran back into the woods, which is where he’s been hiding all week.
“Our perimeter has become thicker and is layered,” the sheriff’s office tweeted on Sunday. ”We are sending teams inside in attempts to find him and force him out.”
“Pretty much everything is really thick terrain. It’s definitely easy for somebody to make a few moves and slip away or to hide, but we got a lot of people out here and a pretty good idea where he is right now,” said Grant Suskin, with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.
(WATCH BELOW: Reporter Glenn Counts in Chester County Sunday as police close in on Tyler Terry.)
The sheriff’s office had been advising people in the area to stay inside their homes, lock their doors and secure their firearms.
Authorities said they had boxed Terry into a perimeter around Highway 9 and Richburg Road and that both roadways were shut down as of Monday morning but were reopened just before noon.
“Right now, we’re doing our best to diligently search. We’re doing our best to cut off as many avenues of escape as possible,” Suskin said.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, including FBI and ATF agents, dogs, helicopters and drones have searched day and night for Terry in woods, neighborhoods and industrial areas.
Investigators have linked him to a May 2 killing and a second murder in South Carolina, two killings outside of St. Louis, Missouri, and two additional shootings in recent weeks.
Officers were hoping that his physical endurance runs out and that he gives up peacefully.
“With us not having any evidence that he’s been helped, I imagine he’s pretty hungry. He’s probably pretty thirsty. And if he’s been drinking water out of the creek, he’s probably not feeling too well,” Suskin said on Sunday.
Other than surveillance video that investigators released Thursday, Sunday was the first time police spotted Terry since he got away from them last Monday. That surveillance footage showed Terry walking before getting into the driver’s side of a small, electric utility vehicle at Carolina Earth Movers, and then driving off Wednesday night.
Authorities have asked people to report any suspicious activity around any trash cans, crawl spaces, barns or outbuildings. Chester County Schools announced on Facebook that they will be open on a normal schedule Monday. That message was met with mixed responses from parents online, with some saying it’s not safe yet.
A crowd gathered Sunday to watch the parade of police cars and helicopters head into the area.
“I feel sorry for everybody, and I just hope that nobody else get shot up or anything. It’s just sad,” Delaine Shuler said.
Crime Stoppers has increased a reward to $2,000 for any information that leads to Terry’s arrest, and the FBI has added a $10,000 reward. Click here to leave an anonymous tip or call 888-CRIME-SC.
(Watch Below: Deputies say they’re closing in on murder suspect in Chester County)
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