Crime & Courts

Carjackings suspect finally surrenders

A wild search for a suspected carjacker ended early Friday when a Prosperity resident surrendered to authorities after a seven-hour, three-county manhunt.

Christopher Marquel Brown, 21, of Prosperity, was being held in the Laurens County jail Friday pending charges, according to the Newberry County Sheriff's Department.

Newberry officials say his capture ended a search that began after 9 p.m. New Year's Eve in Prosperity and involved a team of police agencies, including the State Law Enforcement Division.

"He was a danger to the community," Newberry Sheriff's Major Todd Johnson said, explaining that a suspect carjacked one vehicle in Prosperity and attempted to do the same with another in Laurens County.

Johnson did not know the motive in the carjackings, but the crimes sparked plenty of talk Friday in Prosperity. The incident occurred at a visible gas station/convenience store on Main Street in the town of 1,047 people.

According to the Newberry Sheriff's Department, a man stole a sport utility vehicle at gunpoint from a woman in the parking lot of a gas station in Prosperity about 9 p.m. Thursday. He forced the woman out of the SUV and left with her vehicle, authorities said. The woman's children, a teenager and a five-year-old, were with her at the time. No one was injured.

About three hours later, police spotted the SUV in Spartanburg County and attempted to stop it. A chase ensued, leading police down Interstate 26 back toward Prosperity, according to the Newberry County Sheriff's Department.

But when the suspect reached Laurens County - between Spartanburg and Prosperity - he stopped the vehicle and tried to carjack a second person. That person resisted and the suspect fled into the woods, Newberry officials said.

Authorities then used bloodhounds to track the man through the countryside and eventually flushed him out of a wooded area.

Brown was arrested at about 4 a.m. Friday without incident in Laurens County.

"He had been in the woods for hours; he probably had just given out and was cold," Johnson said.

Johnson said he did not know if Brown, whose address is 8779 U.S. 76 in Prosperity, has a lawyer. Johnson said he expects charges to be filed in several counties, including Newberry.