JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A tense hostage situation and standoff that started late Sunday night in Jones County came to a peaceful end early Monday morning.
The suspect, 41-year-old John Clark, is now being held at the Jones County Jail on charges of kidnapping and commercial burglary. According to Jones County Jail records, Clark is from Tomball, Texas.
Sheriff Alex Hodge said the situation started around 8:30 p.m. when deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport. According to Hodge, Clark said he was waiting at the airport for the Central Intelligence Agency to pick him up in a helicopter.
When deputies got to the airport, Clark was no longer on the scene but was found at Flowers Baking Company on Superior Drive. Hodge said Clark had taken a bakery employee hostage.
Hodge said Clark was armed with a gun, so negotiators went to work trying to talk him down. According to Hodge, the hostage was eventually able to get away from Clark and run to safety.
“Deputies did a tremendous job in negotiating with him. He was able to break free and run to the deputies for safety,” Hodge said.
After the hostage escaped, Hodge said Clark barricaded himself inside the bakery. Hodge said negotiations with the suspect continued around 5:40 a.m. and Clark surrendered peacefully less than two hours later.
Several agencies assisted in the hostage situation and negotiation including Mississippi Highway Patrol, Jones County Emergency Operations Center and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.