- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

COLUMBIA, La. (AP) - A man wanted in a neighboring jurisdiction pulled a gun while deputies had him surrounded but it’s not clear if he killed himself or if he was shot by a deputy, a northeast Louisiana sheriff said Thursday.

Caldwell Parish Sheriff Steve May said Louisiana State Police are investigating the death of Kenneth Magourick (muh-GOH-rick). Court documents spell his name Magouirk (muh-GWIRK).

May said the incident began when a woman, whose age he didn’t know, and her 57-year-old daughter were making a routine check Tuesday on their unoccupied trailer. Magouirk confronted them and held a gun to the older woman’s head, the sheriff said.

He told the women he had just gotten out of prison for murder, and that the U.S. marshals and the Ouachita Sheriffs’ Office were looking for him, May said. “If the law come out there, he was going to leave in a body bag,” May said Magouirk told the women.

May said Magouirk soon let them go, and they called a reserve deputy they knew, who called the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office Special Response Team quickly surrounded the trailer, and the leader saw Magouirk lying on the bed.

“They hollered at him, had a short conversation. At some point, they convinced him to put his hands behind his head,” May said. “They thought he was going to surrender. He started lowering his arms. They kept saying, ‘Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands.’ He came up with a gun. He fired a shot and an officer fired a shot.”

The body was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, for autopsy, which could take up to a month, said Dr. Charles Clack, coroner for Caldwell Parish.

Magouirk did not actually serve time for murder. He had been charged with murdering a Shreveport woman, but a jury convicted him in 1987 of manslaughter in the death of Katherine Thomas. She was kidnapped from her home the evening of Good Friday, 1986, killed, and her body thrown in the Ouachita River, on the other side of north Louisiana, according to a 2001 opinion from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Magouirk was sentenced to 21 years at hard labor, then the maximum, said Jerry Jones, district attorney for Ouachita and Morehouse parishes.

He did not serve the full 21 years and it’s not clear how much time he actually did serve. In 2000 Magouirk was accused of sexual battery against his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, and was convicted in 2001. Magouirk served that entire 10-year sentence, Jones said.

Jones said the latest warrants against Magouirk, for carnal knowledge of a juvenile and failure to register as a sex offender, were sworn out March 31 in Ouachita Parish.

“It’s always a shame to see someone die. But Kenneth Magouirk was a sexual predator who repeatedly attacked women,” Jones said.

He said May “is to be congratulated on quickly surrounding Kenneth Magouirk and preventing him from harming someone else.”

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