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Wanted Man Kills Himself

2-13-2010 Arkansas:

An Alabama man wanted in connection with soliciting sex from a minor over the Internet shot himself Thursday in a Fort Smith motel room during a struggle with members of a federal task force.

Louis Elliott, 33, of Bessemer, Ala., shot himself in the head at about 10:15 a.m. in his room at the Inn Towne Lodge, 301 N. 11th St. He later was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Task force members opened the door with a key, but a safety latch kept them from opening the door enough to enter the room, said U.S. Marshal Dick O’Connell of the Western District of Arkansas.

Law enforcement officers identified themselves and ordered Elliott to open the door, but he closed it instead. By the time task force members unlocked and kicked in the door, Elliott had made his way over to his belongings and was crouched in a corner.

“They were on him very quickly trying to struggle with him to get the gun,” O’Connell said. “They somehow lost their grip on him.”

One of the four officers executed a dry stun on Elliott’s leg with a stun gun, but was unsuccessful in deterring the suspect from turning the handgun on himself.

The four officers — a deputy U.S. Marshal, a Greenwood police officer, a Crawford County sheriff’s deputy and an officer with the state Department of Probation and Parole — are members of the River Valley Sex Offender and Fugitive Task Force.

No one else was injured during the struggle.

Elliott left a suicide note with his girlfriend in Shelby County, Ala., after a felony warrant for enticement of a minor for indecent purposes/computer enticement was issued for his arrest just more than a week ago, O’Connell said.

“They knew before going in that he had suicidal tendencies,” he said.

The Fort Smith Police Department arrived afterward and collected evidence from the scene. Elliott’s body will be sent to the state Crime Laboratory for an autopsy.

“We had no knowledge that they were in the city serving a warrant,” said Fort Smith Police Sgt. Daniel Grubbs.

Authorities learned of Elliott’s location after his girlfriend let someone know she had heard from him, O’Connell said. ..source.. by Amy Sherrill

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