Photo courtesy KPD
JERRY BRACKETT is
wanted for questioning
in the death of a man
Jerry Brackett, 43, of Kokomo, Ind., was arrested in a joint effort between the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Public Safety.
At approximately 9:45 a.m. YCSO received a report of a possible kidnapping at the McGuireville rest stop on the southbound side of Interstate 17.
YCSO Sgt. Steve Francis along with two YCSO deputies, and with the assistance of DPS officers, responded to the location.
According to YCSO, the caller identified himself as a maintenance employee. He stated that a distraught woman approached him and another employee asking for help.
The employees reportedly secured the woman, later identified as Mary Jo Pate, in a storage room for her safety.
The caller provided no details on a suspect and the exact location of the woman was unknown to deputies arriving at the scene.
According to YCSO, DPS officers advised Deputy Fred Wadsworth and Deputy Richard Comstock that a possible suspect was sitting inside a van in the rest area's parking lot.
It was later determined that it was Brackett inside the van. He reportedly tried to flee the parking lot in his van.
According to YCSO, Brackett put the van in reverse and crashed into a DPS patrol vehicle. He then drove forward, jumped a curb onto the sidewalk where deputies were and allegedly continued to drive toward Wadsworth and Comstock.
Comstock reportedly used his rifle to fire at the van as Wadsworth was struck and run over by the van. Brackett then reportedly drove around the restroom building, coming to a rest about 75 yards away. He then got out of the van and ran into the desert, west of the rest area, according to YCSO.
At about noon YCSO SWAT Team and DPS officers arrived to begin a search for the suspect. Moments into the search they observed fresh footprints and blood leading them in a westerly direction.
Brackett was located at about 2 p.m. hiding behind a bush and was taken into custody without incident.
It was found that he had sustained at least two gunshot wounds and was flown to John C. Lincoln Hospital in North Phoenix where he is being treated.
Wadsworth, a 15-year veteran with YCSO, was treated at the Verde Valley Medical Center for a broken wrist, a crushed left foot, and abrasions, and released.
According to the Kokomo Police Department, Brackett is wanted for questioning in a suspicious death.
Kokomo officers discovered Joseph Pate, 70, of Indiana, deceased in his home Tuesday night after they were contacted by family members.
His wife is Mary Jo Pate, 57, Brakett's alleged kidnapping victim. According to Kokomo police, the preliminary autopsy results are being withheld, but Assistant Chief Jack Adams said Brackett is wanted for questioning.
"We've got a dead man and it's under suspicious circumstances," Adams said.
He said no charges have been filed but if the alleged kidnapping took place in Indiana, they most likely would be filing charges against Brackett.
In Yavapai County, deputies also will investigate the kidnapping, sexual assault and the attempted homicide of deputies and will file the appropriate charges.
According to YCSO, Mary Jo Pate appears to be in good condition and remains at an undisclosed location in Yavapai County.
Investigators from the Kokomo Police Department are expected to arrive to continue their investigation. DPS will investigate the circumstances surrounding the use of force against Brackett, which is standard procedure.
— Compiled by Angela De Welles