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Deputy speaks about recognizing homicide suspect in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Deputy speaks about recognizing homicide suspect in Joplin

Updated:
Clinton Blizzard Clinton Blizzard
Deputy Micah Fleming Deputy Micah Fleming

1/11/2017:  Clinton Buzzard was sentenced 1/9/2017 to seven years in prison. He plead guilty to a reduced count of voluntary manslaughter of Nathaniel Higgins. The shooting occurred in September 2015. 

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10/1/2015:  A suspect in a homicide case in Lawrence County, Missouri is behind bars again, after a manhunt for him in the Joplin area Tuesday night.  The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office says 26-year-old Clinton Blizzard fatally shot a 35-year-old man in rural Wentworth this past weekend,  Law enforcement said Blizzard was known to frequent the Jasper and Newton county areas.

Blizzard was caught yesterday after a law enforcement worker was at the right place at the right time.

You can call 20-year-old Jasper County Deputy Micah Fleming a rookie.

"Yeah, I'm still new," says Fleming.

But this rookie, with only about a year of deputy experience, started a multi-agency manhunt.

"I was just doing some personal shopping at Best Buy," says Fleming.

Fleming was off duty at the time.

"He was standing in the department of Best Buy Mobile," says Fleming.

"He" being 26-year-old Clinton Blizzard.

"He wasn't really walking around.  But he was kind of trying to cover up his face, and looking down at the ground, trying to, I think he was trying to hide his face from people," says Fleming.

Take a look at the Blizzard Fleming saw.  There are big differences from another picture of Blizzard that was sent out to the public by law enforcement.  Fleming knew Blizzard was a wanted man.

"I actually just saw it on Facebook," says Fleming.

But he also knew the Blizzard he saw was indeed Blizzard, despite differences of appearance.

"I've had interactions with him in the past, being in custody in our jail," says Fleming.

Fleming is a non-commissioned deputy, so he doesn't carry a badge or have arrest powers.  So he did what he could by following Blizzard out the store and getting the license plate information of Blizzard's vehicle, a blue Cadillac.

He called Joplin police, who eventually caught Blizzard.

"I feel confident that I did the right thing.  I don't think I did too much or too little," says Fleming.

Fleming's boss, the sheriff, has heard plenty of talks about giving Fleming a raise.  If anything, though, Fleming has an even more solid resume.

"I'd like to progress in my career and hopefully up to an administrative position in the future," says Fleming.

Jasper County Sheriff's Office officials say they've received several "thank you" messages through Facebook.

After Fleming called Joplin police about Blizzard, police found Blizzard driving near 7th and Geneva, and tried to pull him over.  But police say Blizzard started a chase, crashing near 10th and Duquesne.

Blizzard fled into a nearby wooded area, and residents in the area were told to stay inside their homes.

After about a two-hour search, Blizzard was found and surrendered.

One Webb City resident, whose mother lives in the area where the manhunt happened, says both she and her mom had a big sigh of relief when the search was over.

Marcy Kersey says, "Big relief.  My mom and I were both watching television, but she was at her house and I'm at my house, and we stayed on the line together and then I called her back.  I said he's caught, he's caught.  She says, I know!  You can go to bed now!"

"If you have somebody that's armed and dangerous, (I'm) extremely scared.  I knew it probably wouldn't be an option for me to come over here (from Webb City to manhunt area) because of the policemen, and they probably wouldn't let anybody in or out," says Kersey.

Kersey was going off of a picture that turned out to be before Blizzard changed his appearance.

"I said mom, there's an armed and dangerous man.  He's caucasian, he has black hair, he is wearing a beard and a mustache.  You can see him on the internet, on KOAM," says Kersey.

Law enforcement and residents of the search area say they're grateful no one was injured during the manhunt.

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