Friday afternoon, Deputy James Blair was routinely taking custody of a patient from the Region 8 mental health facility in Mendenhall, Mississippi, southeast of Jackson. When the deputy sheriff let his guard down for just an instant, it became his fatal mistake. The manhunt for armed and dangerous Joaquin Steven Blackwell is in full force Saturday across at least two counties.
Armed and dangerous Mental patient on the loose
The manhunt continued overnight Friday into Saturday with no reported sightings of 22-year-old Joaquin Steven Blackwell. He was last seen wearing only his white boxers, “on Highway 149 near the D’lo Truck Stop in Braxton.” Blackwell is described by police as “5 feet, 8 inches tall, 175 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.”
According to what the local reporters were able to piece together, On Friday afternoon, Simpson County sheriff’s deputy James Blair was assigned to take custody of the mental health patient at the Mendenhall facility. He apparently was not accompanied by a patrol partner. The 50 year veteran officer was placing the “suspect” who was in custody for an unknown offense, into his cruiser when Blackwell snatched his gun and fatally shot him with it.
By the time backup arrived, Blackwell was long gone, along with the gun and remaining ammunition. When fellow officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Deputy Blair was still alive and rendered aid. The Sheriff’s deputy was airlifted to the local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
A ‘blue alert’ issued
Paul Mullins, Sheriff of Simpson County expressed his condolences at a press conference Friday while advising the public that the “armed and dangerous” brutal and mentally ill killer was still on the loose. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation issued a “blue alert” to make it official.
Officials aren’t talking about why Blackwell was in custody at the mental health center other than “family members had raised concerns about his mental health.” It’s also not clear whether these mental health concerns center around the recent “Black Lives Matter” and George Floyd riots stirred up by the “children of darkness.” Nobody will say “how long or why Blackwell had been detained.”
The only thing that police will admit at this time is that the mental patient was in custody for a “chancery court writ.” That means it was somehow related to “domestic matters, sanity hearings, land records and juvenile matters.” The odds favor “sanity hearings” by a nose over “domestic matters” but it could be a tie.
The manhunt has spread to neighboring Hinds County. Sheriff’s deputy James Blair was 77 at the time of his death. He’s survived by his wife and grandsons. The family will be particularly impacted by his loss because the couple have been raising the boys since his daughter passed away.