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Home  |  News  |  Inside a manhunt with the fugitive task force

Inside a manhunt with the fugitive task force
Friday, February 3, 2012

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Tracking a violent criminal is dangerous, unpredictable and sometimes exhilarating.

Richland County's fugitive task force is a specialized unit whose only goal is to track down and catch violent offenders.

After a double shooting in late January that left one man dead and another critically injured, the task force picked up the trail.

"We try to get them in custody as quick as possible before they can do another crime," said Capt. Robert Lanier. "That's always our goal as we go out."

Fugitive Task Force is nine guys with one goal: get violent offenders off the street.

"I put myself in the citizens shoes some times and just knowing that something like that is out in your neighborhood, it's got to be scary," said Capt. Lanier. "We don't want citizens to live in fear. We're going to put everything we got into it."

Less than 24 hours after a double shooting in Hopkins, investigators have given Sgt. Andrew Caldwell a name. He combed the Internet and criminal histories looking for a place to start.

"Somebody that's been arrested fairly frequently we already have a significant amount of information on their background, their family members, acquaintances co-defendants," said Caldwell.

If they don't have a piece of information, another agency probably does.

"SLED, the Marshal Service, we all work hand in hand now and it's made it a lot easier to find these guys, " said Capt. Lanier.

Caldwell headed to Hopkins not too far from where the shooting occurred. As he exchanged information with SLED agents, word came in their man was spotted.

"Another thing about the unit I got now is they see it as kind of fun, we're careful as we can be but it's the chase that's awesome," said Capt. Lanier.

The Task Force and SLED agents descended on a neighborhood in Hopkins, but the suspect slipped away. They found a hoodie in the tree line. The K-9 officer took over. They checked crawl spaces, houses and sheds.

Helicopters went up and the search turned public. A reverse 9-11 call went out to everyone in the area, but the trail went cold.

"Until he's caught, it's aggravating inside, you know what I mean?" said Capt. Lanier. "You just don't want to see them hurt anybody else, that's the biggest thing."

The following morning, deputies were back on the trail after a few hours of sleep.

"Information was provided to us that a girlfriend or former girlfriend of his was at this hotel, we came and started making contact door to door," said Sgt. Caldwell.

As Caldwell asked around, other members of the task force worked other sources. More signs pointed to the hotel.

"You're just putting little bits of information together until you find the right thing," said Capt. Lanier.

In this case, the right thing was behind door 118. There was no answer and it was locked from the inside.

"You really have no way of knowing what's on the other side of that door, that's why we try to approach things the way we do and try to tactically enter, you really don't know but it has to be opened and you have to go in," said Capt. Lanier.

After 10 minutes of knocking, deputies got in and found who they were looking for.

"They were hiding in the shower," said Sgt. Caldwell. "I guess thinking that we'd go away. We never go away we're always here."

Last year the task force arrested more than 850 violent offenders.

"Having a group of men that do this daily that know their job and know what to do one step right after another has made the difference in the amount of arrests we've been making," said Capt. Lanier. "We're going to hunt you down, we're going to find you."

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/16666310/inside-a-manhunt-with-a-fugitive-task-force

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