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Homicide suspect leads cops on interstate chase

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
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Police standoff closes N.C. highway
  • Arthur Duval Mims accused of shooting former wife, 16-year-old girl, setting house on fire
  • Teen ran to neighbor's house to call police
  • Mims fled scene in white pickup, authorities say
  • Suspect heads north on I-85, crosses into North Carolina, engages in standoff

(CNN) -- A homicide suspect led authorities from two states on a 130-mile chase Tuesday morning and then surrendered following an hours-long standoff that closed a North Carolina interstate during morning rush hour, police said.

Arthur Duval Mims, 45, of Duncan, South Carolina, was taken into custody after the incident, said Sgt. Jeff Gordon, spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Hennelly said Mims went to his estranged wife's home and shot her along with a 16-year-old girl before setting the house on fire.

About 3:18 a.m. ET, authorities in Duncan responded to a report of a shooting at a Spartanburg County, South Carolina, residence, according to a statement issued by the sheriff's office.

Officers found that Mims' stepdaughter, who had been shot, had run to a neighbor's home to ask for help, and the neighbor called 911.

Authorities entered the home and saw smoke coming from an area near an upstairs bedroom, the statement said. A body was found in the bedroom.

Mims' estranged wife was the one killed, Hennelly said, but authorities do not know whether she died from the gunshot or in the fire. The teenager was hospitalized, authorities said. The motive for the incident was unknown.

Duncan is about 14 miles west of the city of Spartanburg. Mims fled the scene in a white pickup before authorities arrived, the statement said. It was unclear how the police chase began.

The suspect traveled north on Interstate 85 and entered North Carolina, where authorities from that state picked up the chase, Gordon said. At one point, authorities used spike strips on the interstate in an attempt to stop the suspect's vehicle. Two of the vehicle's tires deflated, but the suspect continued northbound, Gordon said.

The vehicle stopped at mile marker 91 near Lexington, more than 30 miles north of where the spike strips had been deployed, Gordon said. But the suspect refused to surrender, triggering a standoff that closed both sides of I-85 for a two-mile stretch starting just before 5 a.m. ET, authorities said.

The Davidson County Sheriff's Department deployed its special response team, and negotiators tried to talk the suspect out of the car, Gordon said. He surrendered about 8:30 a.m. ET. The interstate was reopened shortly afterward.

Mims was alone in the vehicle, Gordon said. He faces charges of murder, assault and battery with attempt to kill and arson, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.

The interstate closure "did back up traffic, there's no doubt," Hennelly said, but authorities diverted vehicles onto nearby U.S. 52.

"If it was going to happen, it happened in a place where we could detour it very easily," he said.

CNN's Samuel Gardner contributed to this report.