FLORENCE, Miss. (WLBT) - An auto-theft suspect died in an officer-involved shooting after a high speed chase along Highway 49 in Florence.
Sheriff Bryan Bailey of Rankin County said Saturday’s car chase started with a call about a man driving an unauthorized vehicle; deputies went to the suspect’s home to question him.
“They went and talked to the suspect about the incident and during this time, the deputies learned that the individual was wanted out of Hinds County for auto theft," said Bailey.
The man took off during the confrontation, leading to a hot pursuit up and down the highway.
At one point, the sheriff said the man even drove on the wrong side of the road.
Florence Police, Richland Police and other agencies assisted to stop the reckless driver.
The Rankin deputies used stop sticks and blocked the driver in; that’s when the man was killed by an officer.
The man has been identified as 47-year-old Shawn Fondren of Florence.
The deputies were reportedly threatened with bodily harm.
“It’s a wonder this man didn’t kill somebody before he made it to this point. Again, going northbound in a southbound lane is just a nightmare, an officer’s nightmare to have something happen like that," said Bailey.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the county’s coroner has taken over the investigation.
“It’s a tragedy that this gentleman chose to take the actions that he did today but my deputies did what they had to do to protect themselves and the citizens of Rankin County today,” said Bailey.