Man caught after manhunt in Massac Co. appeared in court - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man caught after manhunt in Massac Co. appeared in court

Benjamin Comer (Source: Paducah Police Department) Benjamin Comer (Source: Paducah Police Department)
Benjamin L. Comer (Source: Paducah Police Department) Benjamin L. Comer (Source: Paducah Police Department)
A resident took this picture of who he says is Benjamin Comer walking just before he was arrested. (Source: Michael Castaneda) A resident took this picture of who he says is Benjamin Comer walking just before he was arrested. (Source: Michael Castaneda)
MASSAC COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

The subject of a manhunt and man accused of crimes in two states appeared in court for the first time on Monday, August 8.

Benjamin L. Comer, 26, of Paducah, is facing charges of felony residential burglary, felony aggravated cruelty to animals, misdemeanor theft control intent less than $500 and misdemeanor aggravated assault/use deadly weapon/rifle.

A judge set a preliminary hearing in the case for Aug. 17.

From Paducah to Massac County, IL

According to Sheriff Holder, a little after 7 a.m. on Aug. 3, they received a call about a home invasion on James Cary Lane. Deputies responded and were met shortly after by Paducah police.

After talking to Paducah police, Sheriff Holder said officers confirmed the intruder of the home was the same person they were looking for in connection to a Paducah Walmart robbery.

Sheriff Holder said additional help was requested for the search for Comer because of the vast area of eastern Massac County.

Within the first several hours, he said up to 50 law enforcement officers were searching the Unionville area.

Officers from the Massac County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police, Metropolis police, Brookport police, Illinois Department of Conservation, U.S. Marshals Service and the Pope County Sheriff's Officer were involved.

He said the search continued all day and into the night.

At about 11:07 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, Sheriff Holder said they received a 911 call about a sighting on Unionville Road of a person matching the description of Benjamin Comer.

Because law enforcement officers were already patrolling the area, he said they arrived within minutes.

ISP and Massac County deputies found Comer walking on Unionville Rd. He was taken into custody without incident, received medical treatment at the scene and was then taken to the Massac County Sheriff's Office for booking and charges.

Accused of robbery in Paducah

Paducah police had been searching for Comer, who was accused of trying to steal more than $1,200 in merchandise from a local store, and pulling a gun on another man who tried to stop him on Tuesday, August 2.

Police were called to a Walmart Supercenter on Paducah's south side at 12:14 a.m. on Wednesday, August 3.

A customer service manager told officers she saw a man exit the store with two shopping carts full of merchandise without paying for the items.

She said she followed him and asked him to stop, but he cursed her and continued into the parking lot. He then left in a car, after a brief altercation with another customer in which Comer pointed a gun at the man.

Police later found the car traveling north on North 8th Street and attempted to stop it. The car fled across the Brookport Bridge into Illinois and was later located by Illinois authorities in a ditch.

Comer was charged in warrants with first-degree robbery and first-degree fleeing or evading police.

Considered armed and dangerous

Police asked residents in the Brookport, Unionville, Mt. Sterling and Hamletsburg areas of Massac County to be on the look out for him.

On Thursday, Sheriff Ted Holder said there will be nine units in the Brookport area looking for Benjamin Comer.

They said if you see him, do not approach him or make contact. They asked that you call 911 immediately.

Sheriff Holder stressed that if anyone sees anything suspicious in the area, they should call 911 as fast as they can.

An area of Unionville Road was blocked off to traffic most of Wednesday afternoon as SWAT teams and search dogs combed the area.

Search crews dispersed from the area around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities plan to widen their search to cover more of that portion of the county and the search will continue through the night.

Since Wednesday afternoon, ISP has been advising residents to lock their doors and stay inside until the man is in custody.

According to ISP, Comer is described as a white male, approximately 5 feet, 11 inches and 190 pounds. He was described as wearing grey camo and shorts. They said he was armed with a double barrel shotgun.

Sheriff Holder confirmed that Comer is a military veteran.

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