Georgia murder suspect arrested in Bluffton

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comMarch 25, 2014 

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies arrest a suspect on Tuesday afternoon on Simmonsville Road, between Sugaree Drive and Little Possum Lane in Bluffton. Law enforcement had set up a perimeter, which placed area school on lock down, while searching for a man wanted out of Chatham County, Ga. on murder charges.

THEOPHIL SYSLO — Staff photo Buy Photo

Several schools were locked down Tuesday afternoon as the U.S. Marshals Service searched for a Chatham County, Ga., murder suspect in Bluffton, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Officers found 28-year-old James Samuel Harris Jr. of Savannah at about 12:15 p.m. at a home on Simmonsville Road, but he gave a false name, according to U.S. Marshal Lt. Steward Cottingham of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Harris was later identified by his fingerprints.

Another individual ran from the home, prompting the Bluffton Police Department and Sheriff's Office to form a perimeter extending to Buck Island Road and Bluffton Parkway, Cottingham said. With the assistance of a K9 unit, that man was captured just before 2:30 p.m. His identity and possible charges were not available Tuesday afternoon.

Red Cedar Elementary School and Bluffton Middle School were placed on lockdown during the search, Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster said.

Harris was being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center awaiting extradition to Georgia. He was charged with being a fugitive from justice and providing false information.

Cottingham said family ties may have brought him from the Savannah area to Beaufort County. In 2012, Harris was convicted of several misdemeanors in connection with being stopped in the county by S.C. Highway Patrol. Charges against him included unlawful carrying of a handgun, according to court records.

Additional information on his murder charge was not available Tuesday from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

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