The manhunt for accused murderer Kirby Wallace continues Thursday near the Montgomery-Stewart county line as local officials increased the reward money in the search.
Hundreds of officers, deputies and troopers are maintaining a perimeter as the search enters its sixth day.
Wallace is linked to two murders in the area and has been on the run since escaping from law enforcement on Saturday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced a news conference Thursday morning Montgomery County has added an additional $10,000 to the reward money in the search for Wallace, bringing the total to $17,500.
Authorities surrounded an area in Montgomery County early Wednesday morning after a reported sighting of a man in the woods with a gun, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers swarmed the Poplar Springs area after a resident called to report a man attempting to enter a porch with a gun before running off into the woods. The sheriff’s office stressed it was not a confirmed sighting of Wallace but said it received other calls of suspicious activity in the area.
A second perimeter was established near the 4000 block of Poplar Springs Road after this reported sighting. This is where the current search is concentrated.
Metro police also investigated after the clerk of a gas station off Interstate 24 in Joelton reported a man resembling Wallace stopped at the store and bought $5 in gas.
The man stopped at the gas station around 1:30 a.m. at the Chips Kwik Stop on White’s Creek Pike. Again, this sighting was unconfirmed.
Officers continue to check vehicles, making sure every car within the search zone was clear and Wallace was not hiding inside.
“I don’t think we can rule out anything, at this point, we are evaluating every piece of information we get, so we can’t rule out anything. We do have a hard perimeter, I feel very confident on the perimeter we have and I feel very confident about the direction we’re going, but no we cannot rule out anything at this point,” said Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson.
People living in Montgomery and Stewart counties are growing more anxious by the minute.
The sight of deputies in tactical gear, helicopters overhead, and police cars blocking roads is wearing thin. They want to know that Wallace is captured.
Parents are particularly concerned about their children.
Mylinda Sheffield is driving her kids to and from school. She wonders if they’re safer at school or at home.
“Well it’s not really safe for them to stay at home either, so you don’t really know what’s the best place for them. but I don’t know how safe it is hauling them out and hauling them back every day either”
Many neighbors are armed and ready to defend themselves.
“If he walked up here I’m not gonna hesitate to shoot him. I mean I’ll drive him across that road over there, cause with my turkey gun it’ll carry him right on across the street,” said one man. “And it don’t bother me one bit. I don’t have a conscience with it ‘cause he deserves whatever he’s gonna get.”
Montgomery County Schools remain on lockout procedure, meaning all students are inside throughout the school day with staff securing property and outside doors remain locked.
Stewart County Schools are on soft lockdown until Wallace is captured. Soft lockdown creates a controlled environment, including locked and secured classrooms.
Law enforcement officers will continue to follow school buses in the impacted area while parents are urged to keep children inside until the bus arrives.
Hundreds of sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, TBI agents and US Marshals working on the manhunt need supplies.
Bug spray, water, drinks, snacks and food top the list.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is asking for donations. Anyone who wants to help should bring supplies to Blooming Grove Baptist Church at 3900 Lylewood Rd. in Woodlawn.
In Stewart County, the Wives of Stewart County Law Enforcement are also looking for help.
Their collection point is at Dover City Hall.