YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The desperate search for a man who police say fired shots at officers during a high-speed chase in Chester County has lasted for nearly a week as investigators said he’s linked to four killings and multiple shootings spanning from South Carolina to Missouri.
Authorities said they are actively pursuing Tyler Donnet Terry near Highway 9 and Richburg Road in Chester County after an officer spotted him Sunday afternoon.
The Chester County Sheriff’s Office was asking neighbors to stay inside their homes while they continue to conduct a manhunt for Terry, who is accused of firing shots at deputies during a high-speed chase Monday.
Authorities said Terry is also connected to two murders and two shootings in South Carolina, and two murders and an attempted murder in Missouri that all took place earlier this month.
While officers, dogs, helicopters and drones have searched for Terry in woods, neighborhoods and industrial areas, investigators working outside the search area have linked him to a May 2 killing and a second murder in South Carolina, two killings outside of St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday and two additional shootings in recent weeks.
On Saturday, Channel 9 obtained a Myrtle Beach police report from March 31, when Terry was arrested for domestic violence and marijuana possession. The photo below is his most recent mugshot.
He got out of jail on April 9, and police said he’s been on a violent crime spree spanning more than 700 miles.
On Saturday night, Eyewitness News reporter Genevieve Curtis spoke to Terry’s father, John Terry, who is pleading for him to turn himself into the police.
He said his son wasn’t raised this way and doesn’t know what’s going on with him. John Terry said he hasn’t been in contact with Tyler Terry for about six months, and said he isn’t sure if he might be having some mental health issues or using drugs, because this doesn’t align with the son he knew.
“I just want everybody to know that he has not always been like this. He was a very loving child. He’s had his problems just like everybody else, but I could never imagine something like this happening,” John Terry said. “I just hope the police can apprehend him, and if he’s out there, son, turn yourself in please. We don’t want anything to happen to you.”
Deputies tweeted surveillance video Thursday afternoon of Terry wearing a blue button-up Burns Auto shirt with the name David on it. He was also wearing black pants and brown or camouflage Crocs on. Authorities previously reported that Terry was wearing all black clothes and no shoes.
In the video, Terry can be seen walking before getting into the driver’s side of a small, electric utility vehicle and then driving off at around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. The footage is from Carolina Earth Movers.
Employees said their cameras spotted him at 9:20 p.m. when he first went into their equipment garage looking to get into a work truck. When that didn’t work, he went outside and found a pickup truck with the door unlocked. It’s there that employees said Terry found a T-shirt, some shoes and a 9mm handgun, so police now know he is armed.
Watch the video in the tweet below:
The pickup truck actually belonged to a private contractor who left the vehicle there overnight. Terry tried to start the truck after he found a spare key inside, but couldn’t get it to start.
“He did leave the spare key, but it didn’t have a chip, so he couldn’t crank up the truck. He fiddled around with it and then took whatever he could and proceeded,” an employee said.
Terry then drove away in a small, electric utility vehicle that can be seen in the video, but later ditched it.
Dozens of officers have joined the manhunt with police dogs, helicopters and drones. They are searching for Terry around the clock.
Channel 9 saw unmarked trucks and SUVs, sitting either on the roadside or in the median of Highway 9 every few miles along the perimeter so authorities can move quickly if there’s a sighting.
Deputies said on Friday that they have doubled the manpower, including more choppers and more federal involvement as well.
Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey on Friday called Terry the most violent man he’s ever heard of, and said the best experts, intelligence analysts and people skilled at tracking and technology are there helping to search for him.
Residents in the area have had their lives interrupted all week and haven’t felt safe in their homes.
“I feel like a criminal in my own home, like it’s very tough, and I have a child,” resident Lakina Brown said.
“I live a minute down the road. A minute from where they last saw him so, I just go home and lock my doors and stay inside,” said Tamara Fudge, who works at the Marathon Station at Highway 9 and 21.
Friday morning, deputies said they expanded the search perimeter beyond Fishing Creek, closer to Fort Lawn out of an abundance of caution.
Residents in the area were asked to stay inside and lock their doors.
Around 6 a.m. on Thursday, the York County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that they searched throughout the night but did not find Terry. As a precaution, extra deputies would be in the Lesslie and Catawba area for school drop off.
At 7:25 a.m., the Chester County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that there had been a confirmed sighting of Terry between the area of Fishing Creek on Highway 9 and the ATI (formerly referring to Allvac plant).
The latest developments came after deputies got a call on Wednesday afternoon about someone matching Terry’s description sitting by I-77 in Rock Hill. Six nearby schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution during the search. Deputies said they are almost positive that person was Terry.
>> We’ll continue to have updates on this developing story on Channel 9 or wherever you stream WSOC apps.
“It’s (the area) got everything -- wooded areas, creeks, roads, schools, lots of abandoned buildings, sheds,” said Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office. “Lots of places he can hide, so that’s why we have so many people here to make sure we try to find him and make sure he doesn’t do anything -- hurt anyone else.”
By late afternoon, all students were released safely from the schools that were on lockdown.
The sheriff’s office asked that those in the area between Lesslie Highway and Firetower Road remained in their homes during the search for Terry. Authorities later announced the search would go into the night.
Crime Stoppers has increased the 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.
“He fired shots at my deputies”
According to Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey, around 11 p.m. on Monday, deputies approached a suspicious 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage in the parking lot a the Bojangles -- which was closed -- at Edgeland Road and Highway 9 in the town of Richburg. The driver, a woman, and her passenger, a man, took off and refused to stop, leading deputies on a high-speed chase, Dorsey said.
During the pursuit, which reached speeds of more than 100 mph, the passenger fired several shots at deputies, striking at least two law enforcement vehicles, according to the sheriff. No deputies were seriously hurt during the exchange of gunfire, SLED officials said.
“He fired shots, multiple shots, at my deputies,” Dorsey said.
Officials released photos showing a bullet hole piercing the windshield of one of those cruisers.
“I want to emphasize how dangerous it was for everybody -- not just the deputies, but for the public,” Dorsey said. “Extremely dangerous. I think the picture we provided (of the windshield) will show your viewers just how dangerous and how close these deputies came to death or severe injury.”
When asked how the deputy avoided being hit by gunfire, Dorsey said, “By the grace of God. That shot was one of the first shots fired, but that deputy continued chasing.”
Deputies fired back at the car, but it’s unclear if anyone was hit.
The pursuit, which Dorsey said spanned more than 20 miles, traveled along Highway 9 into Chester and from Highway 72 into York County. The driver then turned onto Highway 901 and led police back to Chester County before crashing on Highway 9 between Sloan Road and Lewisville High School.
The driver, Adrienne Simpson, of Myrtle Beach, was arrested at the scene but the passenger, who authorities said was armed, ran into the woods and is still on the loose. Dorsey identified the man as 27-year-old Terry, who is from Chester County.
“He was firing shots at our deputies,” said Grant Suskin with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. “We definitely do believe he is armed and dangerous and want everyone to be on the lookout.”
On Wednesday, the York and Chester police departments said they connected Terry to the May 2 murder of 35-year-old Thomas Durell Hardin on Lowry Row in York, as well as two separate shootings.
Officers said Terry has always been a suspect in the murder, but after the chase and shooting Monday night, detectives have collected enough credible information and evidence to charge him with the crime.
York Police detectives have obtained warrants for murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime against Terry in Hardin’s death.
Investigators said Simpson drove the vehicle during the May 2 murder. She has been charged with accessory after the fact.
Chester Police detectives are also obtaining warrants against Terry for attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, pointing and presenting, injury to property and burglary first-degree stemming from shootings that also occurred on May 2 at Erlich Street in Chester and at Taco Bell on JA Cochran Bypass.
Detectives have linked Simpson to those incidents and said additional charges for accessory after the fact are pending.
According to KMOV, the pair is also tied to murders in St. Louis that took place days before the chase and shooting in Chester County.
Authorities said the car that led deputies on the chase had a Missouri tag, and that’s what led to the case shifting to a whole new level, involving two states.
Terry and Simpson reportedly drove from South Carolina to St. Louis on Saturday, stole a license plate from a truck parked in the driveway of a home and put it on their car. The station said the pair then allegedly shot Stanley and Barbara Goodkin in a St. Louis suburb. Barbara was fatally shot in the head and Stanley was shot in the chest, but his cellphone stopped the bullet, according to KMOV.
About an hour later, the pair reportedly shot and killed Dr. Sergie Zacharev outside of a the Drury Inn while he was waiting for an Uber.
KMOV said Terry and Simpson then drove to north St. Louis and purchased drugs before returning to South Carolina on Sunday.
Police said both murders were motivated by robbery and that there are no connections between either of the victims or the suspects.
In Monday’s chase and shooting, warrants have been taken out against Terry charging him with two counts of attempted murder.
Simpson will be charged with failure to stop for blue lights, according to the sheriff.
As deputies searched Wednesday evening, they said they were made aware that a body was found off Stroud Road near Old Richburg Road in Great Falls. The body was later identified as 33-year-old Eugene Simpson -- the husband of Adrienne Simpson.
Authorities have not said how Eugene died, but on Friday, charged Adrienne Simpson or Terry for his murder. Eugene Simpson had been reported missing on May 2.
Chester County, Lancaster County, York County, the Highway Patrol and SLED are all working together to try to find Terry. Dorsey told Channel 9 that he is confident the suspect is still in the area.
Around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, deputies said Terry was spotted on Sloan Road and Highway 9. A little over an hour later, he was reportedly seen in the Britt Lane and Ligon Road area of Richburg.
As of Sunday afternoon, Terry was still at large.
The sheriff wants to remind neighbors to be vigilant and protect themselves and their families.
“This subject has nothing to lose. He’s brought a lot of danger and destruction to this community and apparently to another state,” the sheriff said.
Chester County Schools on Tuesday had to switch to an eLearning day but operated on a regular schedule Wednesday.
“We have also been advised of a continued law enforcement presence in the Lewisville area. However, we do not anticipate major interference with normal school activities,” a spokesman said.
The Lewisville schools operated on “lockout” status Wednesday, which means all students and staff remained inside during the school day.
No changes in school operations were planned for Friday.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this developing story.
(WATCH: Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey provides update on search for ‘armed and dangerous’ suspect)
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