A man and two women are being held in the Pontotoc County Justice Center while a fourth suspect remains in critical condition at Mercy Hospital Ada — alleged co-conspirators in a home invasion-gone wrong, according to Sheriff John Christian.
An affidavit on file in Pontotoc County District Court indicates Francis resident Dennis Reif was awoken by the sound of breaking glass in his home in the 21900 block of County Road 1475 shortly before 2:46 a.m. Wednesday. The affidavit indicates Reif told dispatchers and sheriff’s deputies he had confronted to two men inside his home, one of whom opened fire on him. The record states Reif told dispatchers and deputies he returned fire, striking one of the men at least twice in the chest or abdomen. The men then fled the home in a white pickup traveling westbound on County Road 1475 toward Francis.
Sheriff’s Department records indicate deputies Zubair Khan and Brett Edens coordinated an effort to locate the men with Ada police officers arriving to help locate the suspects. In the course of their search, sheriff’s deputies and Ada police officers said they located two white pickups in the area. Ada police officers successfully stopped one truck, but the second truck fled when officers approached, leading deputies and police officers on a brief high-speed pursuit until the truck crashed through a fence and large shrubs by a private drive near County Roads 3532 and 1505. The driver of the truck fled the crash scene and evaded capture at the time.
Ada police officers identified Dustin Hoots, 39, of Tupelo, as the driver of the crashed truck, which subsequent investigation revealed to have been reported stolen last month. Police said they found Christopher Born, 37, of Ada lying in the back of the crashed truck and bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. Born was transported by Mercy EMS to Mercy Hospital Ada, where he remains in critical condition after multiple surgeries to repair the wounds.
Immediately after the driver evaded deputies and police officers, authorities began the search for Hoots, who was found and arrested Thursday at a residence north of Ada on County Road 1510. Christian said deputies worked with members of the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force and the District 22 Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force to locate and apprehend Hoots less than 24 hours after he evaded law enforcement personnel.
Tara Whittecar, 25, of Byng, and Jeanette Matthews, 24, of Ada, were also arrested in connection with the break-in. Police records indicate Whittecar and Matthews had “case-relevant” knowledge known only by the victim, law enforcement and the suspects.
Christian said the investigation into the break-in has led deputies to information and the recovery of stolen property connecting the suspects to multiple thefts and burglaries going back months. The sheriff said he expects more charges to be filed as the investigation continues.