Multi-state fugitive Raymond Pruitt captured in Pike County, AL

Multi-state fugitive Raymond Pruitt captured in Pike County, AL
Store security video from the fatal robbery and shooting in Pensacola. (Source: Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office)
Store security video from the fatal robbery and shooting in Pensacola. (Source: Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office)
The stolen Hyundai Pruitt was driving (Source: CrimeStoppers)
The stolen Hyundai Pruitt was driving (Source: CrimeStoppers)

PIKE CO., AL (WSFA) - A fugitive wanted in both Alabama and Florida on murder, attempted murder, and numerous armed robbery charges has been captured thanks to an anonymous tip. Raymond Pruitt, 39, led multiple law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase through Troy Friday afternoon. Gunshots were exchanged with officers before he was ultimately taken into custody.

Pruitt was spotted by Troy police officers just before 1:30 p.m. at a Sunoco gas station in the city limits. The officers, noticing a vehicle matching that of the stolen Hyundai Tucson he was last seen driving, saw him drive into the Southland trailer park. That's when they attempted to make a felony stop.

According to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Trooper Kevin Cook, Pruitt fled from the trailer park, crashing through a chain link fence, before subsequently striking Troy Police Chief Randall Barr's patrol vehicle. He then sped south on Highway 87 and, according to Cook, exchanged shots with officers.

Troy police say chase speeds exceeded 100 mph before Pruitt crashed the vehicle into a tree in the Springhill Community, approximately five miles away.

Pruitt was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital. His injuries are believed to be the result of the wreck, not gunshot wounds, and were considered non-life-threatening, according to Trooper Cook and Supervisory Inspector Scott Sides with the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.

"At the end of the day, he is in custody and nobody was hurt," Chief Barr said.

After the crash, Chief Barr says a weapon was recovered from Pruitt's vehicle adding, "We believe it to be the handgun used in the armed robberies."

Following his release from the hospital, Pruitt will be taken to the Montgomery County Jail, according to Sides. Additional charges against him are pending.

Due to the officer-involved shooting, ALEA investigators have been asked by Chief Barr to take over the investigation involving Friday's incidents. Trooper Cook said all findings from the evidence will be turned over to the District Attorney's office for further review.

CRIME SPREE STARTS

Pruitt, was being sought by the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as multiple Alabama and Florida agencies, after a crime spree that started on April 5. That's when Pruitt allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and shot her and took off with her gun.

Initially sought by Montgomery police on an attempted murder charge, Pruitt is alleged to have gone on an armed robbery crime spree stretching across at least four Alabama counties.

The U.S. Marshals Service beefed up efforts to track down Pruitt this week, adding resources and reward money as his crimes escalated. Local, state and federal agencies across the Southeast took part in the massive search for Pruitt, who officials call an "extremely violent man."

Central Alabama CrimeStoppers worked closely with authorities to disseminate information and pictures of Pruitt.

After the April 5th attack on his girlfriend, Supervisory Inspector Sides says Pruitt then stole a car from someone at gunpoint in Montgomery and began targeting convenience stores, sporadically committing robberies.

Pruitt is wanted for questioning in a business robbery on April 18th around 2 p.m. at a gas station in the 3000 block of McGehee Rd in Montgomery. The suspect entered the business armed with a silver and black handgun, and demanded money. He fled towards nearby apartments.

He is also wanted for an armed robbery at the Marathon on US 231 in Troy, Alabama on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at approximately 2:00 p.m. He allegedly held the clerk at gunpoint with a silver and black large caliber handgun and left the store on foot.

Pruitt has been connected to an armed robbery at the Shell Station on US 231 and Deese Road in Ozark, Alabama on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at approximately 2:52 p.m. He allegedly held the clerk at gunpoint with a silver and black handgun.

Pruitt is wanted for questioning in a robbery on Thursday, 21 April 2016, at 6:42 p.m. in Montgomery. Officers responded to the 4000 block of Atlanta Highway after an armed man came through the back door of the convenience store and demanded money. He was not wearing a mask or gloves and appeared to walk to the business.

The Prattville Police Department connected Pruitt to an armed robbery that occurred on Friday, April 22, 2016 at approximately 5:15 p.m. He entered a business in the 1300 block of South Memorial Drive armed with a silver and black handgun in his waist band. Once inside, he demanded money from the clerk and then left on foot.

The Escambia County Sheriff's Office in Pensacola, Florida identified Pruitt as the man responsible for an armed robbery on April 26th at a Pensacola business in which the owner was shot and killed.

"I cannot overemphasize how dangerous this individual is," Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said.

The murder happened at the "A and E" Food mart on Pace Boulevard. The owner was well-liked by his customers, even letting one woman fill her car up with gas when she realized she forgot her wallet.

According to deputies, Pruitt pulled the trigger on Chung Lun Chiang and walked out with cash. The sheriff says he seemed calm as he left the store after the killing and in no hurry to get away, sitting in his car for nearly a minute before taking off.

The shooting was caught on camera, but the footage was not released.

"This is probably one of the most chilling videos I've seen of someone that did this," the sheriff said. "He went in in cold blood and killed out of our citizens, a gentlemen trying to earn a living."

Pruitt is linked to another robbery the night before in Pensacola at a Shell station on David Highway.

The U.S. Marshals Service classified it as a major case, directing more resources to his apprehension, not only financial but also analytical and investigative. They also put up billboards on major highways throughout the Southeast.

Convenience stores were also kept in the loop in the search for Pruitt. Information was circulated to thousands of businesses in several different states to make employees and customers aware.

Pruitt has a violent criminal history in the Montgomery area.

He was last featured on CrimeStoppers during the month of May 2015 for Domestic Violence Assault 2nd degree. He stabbed the victim multiple times during a verbal altercation.

He was charged by a grand jury in 1996 with recklessly causing the death of a five-month-old baby by "shaking her and/or striking her head against a hard surface." He was convicted on the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide in 1997.

His 2004 robbery charge and 2009 Conspiracy to commit robbery charge were not prosecuted, according to court records.

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