Branson Tourists Asked to Use HWY 248 instead of 65 direct to 76 Blvd Exit While Negotiators Talk Murder Suspect From Hotel Room
View Branson Police Standoff With Murder Suspect in a larger mapBranson officials have closed a highly trafficked portion of the 76 strip starting at the 76/65 interchange north to Roark. Branson Public Relations Administrator Jerry Adams is at the scene and made a call by cell phone minutes ago.
The 76 strip is flowing freely with minimal traffic center strip less than a mile from the scene where 51 year old Mark Simmons, a murder suspect with a warrant from Texas has maintained phone contact with police offers in a standoff that is reaching its 8th hour.
Theater schedules dictate incoming traffic will increase dramatically over the next few hours and tourists are advised to exit on 248 just north of the 76/65 off-ramp. In order to bring peaceful resolution to a potentially dangerous situation, the Branson police department is maintaining a barrier (outlined in the map above) as long as Simmons maintains voice contact.
The Branson Police deparment was following up leads from a robbery that occurred Sunday night which led them to a room on the 76 strip yards from the 65 interchange.
After a Branson police officer made contact with Simmons, Texas authorities advised their suspect should be handled as dangerous forcing an evacuation to prevent casualties or harm to potential bystanders. The nature of a weapon Simmons might have has not been released by authorities.
Simmons remains holed up at the Walnut Lane Hotel (see southern marker on map above)without any known hostages.
Identified as a person of interest, a Texas warrant was issued in connection with an April murder. The victim was found in a Texan houme that was set ablaze. Investigators to the scene determined the burned body was a week old by the time the fire was set.