John Walsh’s pioneering series, America’s Most Wanted, television’s top crime-fighting show, has already made a difference since its premiere on Lifetime, having led to last weekend’s capture of two men alleged to be involved in a brazen Washington, DC, shootout that killed two people, including a 15-year old boy, and injured five others.
Investigators have been trying to track down the gunmen since the shooting in October 2009. The suspects, Antonio Barnes and Earl Jackson, were featured on America’s Most Wanted on Friday, January 6, 2012.
One week later, a Lifetime viewer who watched the episode contacted the show’s Hotline with information about the men, placing them in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With information from the America’s Most Wanted caller, investigators obtained a search warrant for the location. Early on January 14, 2012, a heavily-armed contingent of law enforcement officers executed the search warrant and arrested both Barnes and Jackson, ending the two-year manhunt.
Barnes and Jackson were wanted for their alleged involvement in the vicious October 12, 2009, shootout in the Clay Terrace neighborhood of Washington, DC. The lengthy shootout, which was suspected to have been sparked by an earlier robbery, involved anywhere from five to ten gunmen. Barnes and Jackson were then rumored to have fled to the Southern United States.
More information on their cases can be found at http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=79333 and http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=79334.
America’s Most Wanted was on site while law enforcement officials executed the warrant and obtained footage of the arrests.
“Our fans did not let us down, proving that our show is a true American institution and a reckoning force. After such a tremendous response to our return to television on Lifetime, now more than ever we are committed to bringing these cases to viewers across America so they can put criminals behind bars. We know this double capture is the first of many and we’ll keep helping those crime victims that need us the most,” said Walsh.
“Once again America’s Most Wanted proves it’s a true public service,” said Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President of Programming for Lifetime. “Lifetime is so proud that we can provide this vital programming for our viewers, assist in these captures and help make this country a safer place.”
Since its 1988 premiere America’s Most Wanted has become one of the most important programs on television, having played a major role in the capture of more than 1,100 fugitives in the U.S. and 30 countries, including 17 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, and the rescue of 61 children and missing persons during the program’s history.
Aside from its landmark status in the annals of television as a leader in using the medium to apprehend the world’s most dangerous criminals, the series also has shaped legislation and the national dialogue on crime fighting, and received numerous honors for its work. The influential series has helped lead to arrests in major unsolved crimes, such as the missing Elizabeth Smart case and the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.