I-85 standoff ends, suspect arrested

Mims is taken into custody after a standoff Tuesday

April 27, 2010 3:49:43 PM PDT
A murder suspect who fired on officers and kept driving even after losing three tires during a 100-mile chase gave up after drinking bleach during a three-hour standoff that shut down Interstate 85, authorities said Tuesday.

Arthur Duval Mims, 45, is being heavily guarded at a hospital but is expected to survive to face murder and arson charges in South Carolina, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said at a news conference.

"There's no rhyme or reason to what happened here," Wright said about 10 hours after the chain of events began to unfold.

Mims shot and killed his wife, 36-year-old Dawn Katrice Mims, in their Duncan home around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, Wright said.

He also shot his 16-year-old stepdaughter in the face. But she survived, running to get help from an off-duty deputy who lived two doors down as Arthur Mims set the home on fire, the sheriff said.

Mims left in his pickup about a minute in front of deputies. He got about 25 miles up the road on I-85 before a Cherokee County deputy spotted his truck and tried to pull him over, authorities said.

The chase went on for about 100 miles. Mims shot at the officers who started the chase, and later at North Carolina troopers who joined in when the pursuit crossed the state line, Wright said.

The chase went through Charlotte, N.C., before dawn. Officer used spikes to try and stop Mims' truck, puncturing three tires, but it only slowed him down at first, police said.

By the time the chase entered Davidson County, Mims was driving on rims, which finally disintegrated. He stopped in the middle of I-85 around mile marker 88, about 35 miles south of Greensboro, Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said.

Mims refused to surrender, shutting down the six-lane highway which handles an average of 40,000 vehicles a day, for three hours during the morning commute, authorities said.

Mims drank bleach during the standoff and begged for help from officers in a nearby armored car after he started vomiting blood, Grice said.

He finally took a bottle of water, then gave up peacefully, Grice said.

Authorities didn't know if Mims had an attorney. South Carolina authorities plan to begin proceedings to bring him back to the state as soon as he recovers.

Investigators haven't been able to interview Mims' 16-year-old stepdaughter and haven't been able to figure out what led to the shooting, Wright said.

Mims didn't appear to have a criminal history and Wright couldn't remember his deputies being called to the couple's home before.

The sheriff praised the off-duty Greenville County deputy rousted from his bed by the wounded girl and one of his officers. They both grabbed fire extinguishers and tried to put out the blaze as they searched the home for other victims and the possible gunman. Wright said they saved the teen's life and got critical information that led officers farther along I-85 to spot Mims truck.

"That situation there was very volatile," Wright said. "They're having to deal with fire and possible bullets."

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