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For Immediate Release

Contact:
February 11, 2010 DUSM Dewaine Allen, Western District of Arkansas
Fayetteville Division (479) 695-7000

Fugitive Sex Offender Commits Suicide During Apprehension

Fort Smith, AR – This morning, a Deputy U. S. Marshal and several sworn Task Force Officers attached to the U. S. Marshals Service Western Arkansas Fugitive Task Force were investigating a fugitive lead from the Gulf Coast region. Louis Elliott, age 33, died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head from a handgun. Elliott was wanted in Shelby County, Alabama for felony charges of failing to appear on the original charge of sexual solicitation of a child by computer. He was also wanted on misdemeanor charges of failing to appear for use/possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

The U. S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force adopted the state case against Elliott earlier this month and began their man hunt. Through various investigative efforts, investigators concluded Elliott may be in the Fort Smith area. The Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force contacted the U. S. Marshals Service in Fort Smith, Arkansas requesting assistance in apprehending Elliott. Elliott was believed to be suicidal and possibly armed with a handgun.

Intelligence led investigators to the Inn Towne Lodge, located at 301 North 11th Street in Fort Smith, where it was believed Elliott may be renting a room. Deputy U. S. Marshals and Task Force Officers established surveillance of the parking area of the Inn Towne Lodge at roughly 10 a.m. After confirming Elliott was residing in room 113 of the Lodge, investigators identified themselves and attempted entry into Elliott’s room with a door key. Unfortunately, Elliott had secured the door latch from the inside of the room. After opening the door only inches and positively identifying Elliott standing near the door, investigators instructed Elliott to open the door further. Investigators then saw Elliott run from the door toward the rear of the small motel room. At that point, investigators kicked in the door.

As investigators were entering the doorway, they observed Elliott reach for a handgun from beneath a bed mattress. Investigators began to struggle with Elliott, who had turned away from investigators while holding the handgun. After a significant struggle and an unsuccessful attempt to tase Elliott, Elliott was able to free his gun hand momentarily and place the handgun to his head. In the struggle, investigators heard one gun shot ring out, and immediately felt Elliott stop resisting. Investigators then saw that Elliott had shot himself in the head with the handgun he had pulled from the mattress. Fort Smith EMS was immediately called, but Elliott was deceased upon EMS arrival.

According to Chief Deputy Jeff Woodfin, “this is an unfortunate incident, as is any officer involved shooting, and we are lucky no law enforcement officers or innocent bystanders were injured by Elliott’s acts.” Elliott’s family has been notified of the shooting, but the names of the investigators involved in the shooting are not being released, according to Woodfin. An in depth investigation will be conducted in the coming days.

Every year, the U.S. Marshals and its associated task forces throughout the country arrest more fugitives than all federal law enforcement agencies combined. Last year, this number was more than 73,000 state and local fugitives and more than 36,000 federal fugitives.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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