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SHOOTING SPREE CLAIMS 4, ENDS WITH SUICIDE

SHARE SHOOTING SPREE CLAIMS 4, ENDS WITH SUICIDE

Law enforcement officers confronted Jimmy Earl Whitt three times in the past two weeks. He shot them dead each time.

Whitt's interstate crime spree claimed the lives of three lawmen and a convenience store clerk. It ended Tuesday when he put a bullet in his right temple as FBI agents tried to pull him over on an Alabama highway."This was a man who had no conscience," said FBI Special Agent Nicholas Walsh, head of the Mobile office.

In an eight-hour span on Tuesday, police said Whitt used a stolen police pistol to kill a Mississippi deputy and an Alabama Public Service Commission agent, critically wound a woman in front of her two young children, then kill himself.

Whitt, 23, was from Mobile but had been living in Miami for the past few years, Walsh said.

The first killings were June 14 in Greenville, a small Alabama town about 120 miles north of Mobile. Police officer Gary Wayne Heath and store clerk Pamella Jean Scruggs were shot during a holdup.

Heath's gun was the same one Whitt used Tuesday, said Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram.

When Whitt was spotted about 4 a.m. Tuesday in south Mississippi, he was driving a car stolen during a hotel robbery in Miami on June 8, Walsh said.

Len J. Rowell, a 23-year-old deputy with the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department, was gunned down after stopping a stolen rental car on a lonely stretch of I-59.

Whitt was identified as the suspect. He was later spotted about 70 miles away in Mobile, where authorities believe he stole a car at gunpoint and then drove east on I-10.

About 25 miles away at the Loxley exit, Whitt encountered Coy Smith, a 61-year-old Alabama PSC officer. Smith was shot numerous times and died. PSC officers have limited police powers.

Authorities say Whitt then headed south toward Foley, where he shot a woman in the neck at a McDonald's drive-in window while trying to steal her car. Her children, ages 1 and 3, were in the back seat.

"He apparently walked up to her window, she resisted, so he shot her," Foley investigator Kevin Brock told the Mobile Register. "She was right at the speaker. They could hear her scream inside."

Donna Akers of Memphis, Tenn., had been vacationing with her family. She was in critical condition today at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., according to a hospital spokeswoman.

FBI agents said they spotted Whitt again as he headed back toward Loxley.

As the agents pulled alongside Whitt's car, the agent on the passenger side rolled down his window and motioned with a gun for Whitt to pull over.

Whitt's responded by placing the pistol to his temple and pulling the trigger, Walsh said.