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Suspect in custody following fatal shooting at Carthage motel

One man is in custody following a Saturday morning fatal shooting at a Carthage motel.

Sgt. Chad Dininger of the Carthage Police Department says the suspect, 29-year-old Lane J. Stephens of the Carthage area, was located sleeping inside a church near Lamar around 8 a.m. Sunday morning. He is currently in custody.

The incident was reported shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday at the Quality Inn Motel at 2701 Hazel  in Carthage.

Upon entering, first responders found 43-year-old Don Pierce of Carthage dead and 25-year old Toni Stephens of Carthage injured.

Not long after that, two armed carjackings were reported in Carthage, the first on the parking lot of the Quality Inn. After that, a second carjacking occurred on the parking lot of  O’Reilly Automotive at 1937 S. Garrison.

He was later sighted at Pete’s Convenience Store in Jasper.

Sgt. Dininger says descriptions by the witnesses lead police to believe Stephens hijacked both cars.

Both vehicles were later found, one in Carthage, the other on Civil War Road not far from the Barton County line.

Dininger says Toni Stephens, the suspect’s estranged wife, was treated and released at a local hospital.

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