Criminal Caught After Chase

An inmate who escaped during a trip to a hospital, stole a police woman's van and was finally chased down in Mississippi is back behind bars. It happened Saturday when Robert McKee was taken from the parish jail in Franklinton to the emergency room at Washington-St. Tammany Regional Medical Center by Washington Parish Sheriff's Deputy Ervin Sanderson.

Officers gave this account: McKee, in jail on charges of aggravated burglary and second-degree kidnapping, overpowered Sanderson in the bathroom, badly beating him and taking his gun. He then disarmed an off-duty female police officer and exchanged gunfire with other officers. Bogalusa Police Chief Jerry Agnew said officers stopped shooting because of the crowd of people outside the hospital. The fleeing inmate took the police woman's van and sped off toward the Louisiana-Mississippi state line pursued by several officers. ``There were several life and death situations,'' Agnew said. ``I was pleased with the restraint our officers showed.'' The van was damaged in a wreck at an intersection, but continued on into Mississippi.

Once the van quit, McKee abandoned it and allegedly attempted to carjack an elderly couple at gunpoint before police subdued him. The entire incident lasted less than 20 minutes. Authorities said they will likely charge McKee with three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, armed robbery, carjacking, hit and run, aggravated criminal damage to property, aggravated flight from an officer and disarming a police officer. Other local charges are pending. The Washington Parish Sheriff's Office is in charge of the investigation inside the hospital and that agency may file additional charges against McKee.

Pearl River County will also likely charge McKee with various offenses. McKee is believed to be from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and was in jail on charges stemming from a Bogalusa arrest several months ago.