An Ohio man wanted for abducting a woman and allegedly killing her mother was tracked to Louisiana where he was killed in a shootout with federal authorities this week.
James Edward Hawley, 47, was killed at a hotel in Pineville, Louisiana on Tuesday after exchanging gunfire with FBI agents who were carrying out a search warrant, WOIO reported. He is suspected of kidnapping Nichole Bronowski, 45, and killing her mother on Thanksgiving Day, the outlet reported.
"The boots on the ground, and all of the cooperation that went up to the federal level, worked diligently ... to bring this to a conclusion today," Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to ABC News.
Bronowski was rescued following the shooting.
"Everyone involved, they worked hard to put this to rest," Lucas added.
The FBI also confirmed Hawley’s death in a statement to local media.
“The subject, who was wanted for a homicide in Cleveland, Ohio, is deceased,” the FBI said, KALB reported.
One agent was injured in the shootout, officials said, and his condition is currently unknown, according to the Associated Press.
“An FBI agent was also wounded and is currently being treated in an area hospital,” the statement added.
Hawley, who investigators said also goes by Ahmad Ben David, kidnapped Bronowski from her Cuyahoga Falls residence in late November. The Akron-area nurse was last seen around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 25, according to WOIO. Hawley allegedly took Bronowski to her mother’s home in Barnesville, where he’s suspected of killing the elderly woman.
Federal authorities later tracked the wanted man to Louisiana by tracing his cell phone. Shortly before the deadly motel shootout, Hawley allegedly posted images of guns online and threatened law enforcement.
“The suspect posted numerous photos of himself with firearms on social media and had made statements online and to individuals ultimately known to us, saying he wanted to kill some cops," said Jeff Fortunato, the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge in Cleveland, according to Inside Edition.
On Nov. 27, the accused kidnapper sent an ominous message to his 16-year-old son via Facebook.
“You get it twisted,” Hawley wrote. “I ain’t running. I am hunting. 400 years worth of killing is in my soul. Quiet before you wake up and see me. Or maybe your words will send me to your brother’s house.”
Bronowski was visibly shaken when she was rescued following the gunplay, local police said.
"She has been through a lot,'' Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis said, ABC News reported. “She is going to need time to heal from this ordeal.”
Bronowski and Hawley had a prior relationship, but authorities didn’t share specifics of how the two knew each other. A motive in the murder-kidnapping wasn’t immediately apparent, law enforcement said, and the investigation remains open and ongoing.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better result than her being alive,” the Ohio police chief added.
Bronowski works as a district nurse and clinical coordinator for the Akron Children’s Hospital, a spokesperson confirmed.
“Nichole’s colleagues at Akron Children’s are happy and relieved to learn she has been found safe, and share our sincere sympathies on the loss of her mother," Holly Pupino, a communications specialist for the hospital, told Oxygen.com in a statement. "We commend all of the law enforcement teams involved in her recovery.”
The FBI didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
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