Suspect in Wayne County manhunt in custody

Suspect in Wayne County manhunt in custody

WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A man sought by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is now in custody following an armed standoff and manhunt in the Strengthford community.

Jon Wiley Welford has been arrested and was transported to the sheriff’s department. It is not clear at this time what charges he will face.

Sheriff Jody Ashley said Welford engaged in an armed standoff with several law enforcement agencies Thursday before escaping into a wooded area that evening, setting off a manhunt that lasted until Friday afternoon.

Officials said Welford fired an assault rifle at a Jones County Sheriff Office drone operating in the area during the standoff, and threatened to kill any law enforcement officers he encountered. The sheriff added that some neighbors in the area were evacuated for safety.

Ashley added the JCSO had its armored vehicles on the scene with multiple agencies assisting in the manhunt.

According to the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, three Jones County Sheriff’s Office Armored Rescue Vehicles were used to move MHP SWAT, JCSO SWAT team members, and tactical medics around the property multiple times throughout the day and night.

The standoff started after deputies responded to a domestic situation at a home around 8 a.m. Thursday. Ashley said when deputies got to the scene, a man started threatening to shoot them, so the deputies backed away and set up a perimeter.

Law enforcement cleared the home Thursday evening and discovered that Welford was no longer there, according to Ashley. The sheriff’s department set up a perimeter around the wooded area Welford was believed to be in.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Jones County and Perry County sheriff’s departments, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

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