By Jean Cole and Jonathan Deal
Authorities in Madison County are pursuing an attempted murder charge against a man who tried to run down a Limestone County Sheriff’s deputy Thursday before being shot himself, an official said.
Madison County Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Brian Chaffin told The News Courier charges have not yet been filed against Dexter Lee Fair, 20, of 158 McKee Road in Harvest. The suspect underwent surgery Thursday afternoon in Huntsville Hospital. Though his condition was not available at press time, Chaffin said, “His injuries were not deemed life threatening.”
Records show Fair had no violent criminal history, though he did have five previous convictions for misdemeanor theft. What prompted his response Thursday is unclear.
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said Fair rammed the vehicles of Investigator Jonathan Hinton and Deputy Mike Boyles, a school resource officer at East Limestone High School, then drove into a ditch on Jeff Road near Sparkman Middle School in Madison County. The officers exited their vehicles and ordered the suspect to exit his vehicle, but he failed to comply.
“He was coming back out (of the ditch) and was going to run them over, so they fired,” Blakely said.
The sheriff said three shots struck Fair, though he declined to say where they struck him until the investigation is complete.
Chaffin said the deputies fired at the suspect “as a last resort.”
Began in Limestone
The incident began in Limestone County Thursday morning as an attempted burglary but led to a two-county, high-speed chase that triggered the shooting and school lock down.
Blakely said a woman in Capstone Subdivision near the intersection of Capshaw and Mooresville roads in Limestone County, reported around 10:30 a.m. that a man looked into her window. Upon realizing someone was home, the man fled the scene in a gold car.
The woman described the suspect to deputies as a black, heavyset man standing about 6 feet tall and wearing a nylon stocking over his head, according to scanner reports.
About 36 minutes later, a deputy spotted the gold Suzuki Forenza fitting the description and began pursuit, Blakely said. Other deputies joined the chase on Nick Davis, Old Railroad Bed and Jeff roads, he said. As chase neared Sparkman Middle School, located on Carters Gin Road in Toney, deputies asked for assistance from Madison Police, and the school went into lockdown shortly thereafter.
At one point, a deputy radioed that the suspect had rammed two patrol cars and, a short time later, there were “shots fired.” The report was followed by a deputy requesting an ambulance and noting that the suspect was “barely breathing” and would likely have to be transported to the hospital by MedFlight.
Blakely said the suspect was talking in the ambulance before it left.
Although no deputies were injured in the incident, the sheriff said one was taken to the hospital because his blood pressure had spiked.
Both patrol cars sustained damage, and one had to be towed.
Possibly other burglaries
Investigators believe the suspect may have been involved in several burglaries in Limestone County.
“There were some items in the suspect’s vehicle, and we believe he may have been someone that has burglarized some residents in Limestone County,” Blakely said. “He is a suspect we have been looking for in some other burglaries in Limestone County.”
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the officer-involved shooting, Blakely said.
Records show Fair has four prior convictions for writing bad checks and one prior conviction for receiving stolen property, all of them misdemeanors.