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2 dead after abduction, police chase in Missouri, Illinois

This undated photo from the Jefferson City Police Department shows Leslie Austin. Austin, accused of the kidnapping of his girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter than the killing of a man during an attempted carjacking, was shot and killed after a police chase through Missouri and Illinois, authorities said Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Jefferson City Police Department via AP)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A man accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter than the killing of a man during an attempted carjacking was shot and killed after a police chase through Missouri and Illinois, authorities said Wednesday.

The chase began Tuesday evening in Jefferson City, Missouri, and ended about three hours later in Greenville, Illinois, after police used stop sticks to deflate the tires on Leslie Austin’s SUV, so the girlfriend and child to escape. Authorities said Austin, 39, fired several shots during and after the hunt, but do not yet know if he shot himself or was shot and killed by law enforcement.

Austin’s 33-year-old girlfriend, Danielle Smith, was shot and injured multiple times, and is in the hospital in critical condition, the State of Illinois, Police said in a press release. The daughter was not injured.

Jefferson City police Lt., David Williams said the girlfriend had a restraining order against Austin.

Little information has been released about the circumstances of the kidnapping. Officers respond to reports of gunfire in the Jefferson City parking lot around 7:40 am found spent shell casings and broken glass, Williams said. Witnesses who called 911 said they saw the SUV speeding away after the shots were fired.

Not knowing of the kidnapping, Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper in the Union, about 75 miles (120 km), tried to stop Austin for a registration violation at about 9 o’clock, the Patrol of the Machine, Justin Wheatley said. Austin took off and blew through multiple stop lights. The patrol called off the pursuit, Wheatley said.

A Franklin County sheriff’s deputy-one restart the team alone the exercise after learning of the vehicle was wanted, Wheatley said.

The patrol of the germans caught up with Austin again about 25 miles (40 km) drive on Interstate 44 in western St. Louis suburb of Eureka. They pursued him until he drove over a bridge in the state of Illinois, where the State of Illinois Police Troopers took over the chase, Wheatley said.

Around 10:30 pm, Bond County sheriff’s deputies deployed stop sticks on Illinois 140 near Greenville, and the girlfriend and child were able to escape to the slowing down SUV, State of Illinois Police said in a press release.

Austin then tried to carjack a vehicle of Gregory Price, shoot and kill 67-year-old man from Florissant, Missouri. Austin apparently decided against taking the Price of the car and not in an attempt to carjack a second vehicle, choosing instead to remain in his damaged SUV, state police said.

He eventually stopped the car and was shot and killed in a gunfight, although the police said it was unclear whether he was shot by an officer, or the shot was self-inflicted.

Austin had convictions in Missouri for the crime of theft, domestic violence, tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.

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Associated Press reporter Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this report.

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