Highway Patrol Officers arrested Cody Nathaniel Willcoxson, 31, just before 1 p.m. after he led authorities on a chase from Fort Leonard Wood to Rolla. He was in possession of an AK-47 and other weapons. He reportedly fired at officers during chase, wrecked his car, fled on foot, then stole another car. He is being held in the Phelps Co. jail. He is being held on $1 million bond and is charged with four counts of assault on a law enforcement officer. 

Photo from Oklahoma Department of Corrections

View a video sent to KY3 from a bystander: http://www.ky3.com/videobeta/?watchId=2ac0ba38-1158-400d-87c4-2fdceb80775b

The Missouri University of Science and Technology lockdown has been lifted.

AUDIO: Steve Claussen reports [Mp3, 44 sec.]

Rolla Police say he tried getting into Fort Wood by a fake ID. He served over three years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for burglary, escape, and other felony crimes.

Willcoxson was reportedly the mastermind behind a jailbreak when a group of nine inmates attacked a jailer and ran from Delaware County Jail in Oklahoma. That was third escape.

AUDIO: Highway Patrol conference call following the arrest [Mp3, 1:43 min.]

The Highway Patrol put out the following release Thursday evening:

On May 12, 2011, at approximately 8:27 a.m., the driver of a 2005, Dodge Magnum, identified as Cody Nathaniel Willcoxson, 31, Southwest City, Missouri, mistakenly approached the west gate of the Ft. Leonard Wood Army Base. When confronted by military police he provided a non-driver’s license identification. In a panic, he drove onto Ft. Leonard Wood property at a high rate of speed. When Willcoxson exited via the Fort Leonard Wood main gate, two St. Robert’s Police Officers attempted to stop the vehicle and a pursuit ensured.  A Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputy joined in the pursuit as it continued onto eastbound I-44.  During the pursuit, Willcoxson fired a weapon at officers, striking a St. Robert police cruiser.

As the pursuit neared Rolla, a state trooper assisted by a Phelps County Sheriff’s Deputy successfully deployed a spike strip as they were fired upon by the suspect.  The vehicle exited at the 184 mile marker and into the city of Rolla, where members of the Rolla Police Department and the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department joined the pursuit. The pursuit entered Rolla’s business district where the suspect again fired at officers. The vehicle was ultimately involved in a traffic crash on the campus of the Missouri University of Science of Technology, where Willcoxson exited his vehicle with an AK-47 and entered McNutt Hall.  He then exited the building via the northwest entrance, were he discarded his weapon under a parked vehicle and ran across U.S. 63 and I-44 and into a residential area.  Willcoxson entered a residence and demanded keys from the occupants for their 2003 Ford Taurus.  He was observed a short time later in the stolen vehicle near the I-44 and Rt. E interchange.

At approximately 12: 47 p.m., Rolla Central Dispatch received a report that a vehicle matching the description of the stolen vehicle was southbound on U.S. 63 south of Rolla. This information was given to troopers who were stationed at a roadblock on U.S. 63 near Edgar Springs.  One of the troopers began travelling north on U.S. 63, where he met the suspect vehicle. As the trooper turned around, the suspect exited the highway and onto a dead-end county road.  The trooper followed and met the vehicle after the suspect turned around travelling back toward the highway. The trooper blocked the highway and the suspect immediately exited his vehicle and laid face down on the ground. Another trooper arrived on the scene, where Willcoxson was taken into custody without further incident.  

Willcoxson was treated at the scene by Phelps County Ambulance Personnel and later transported to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries sustained during the pursuit and traffic crash.  Wilcoxson was released to the custody of the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and his bond was set at one million dollars for multiple felony charges.

Involved in this investigation were the Rolla Police Department, St. Robert Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri University of Science and Technology Police Department, Rolla Fire and Rescue, U.S. Forest Service, South Central Drug Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The charges for which Willcoxson has been arrested are mere accusations and are not evidence of guilt.  Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.