Five officers hurt in Miss. shootoutCompiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 19, 2002
FRIARS POINT, Miss. -- Five law enforcement officers were shot during a bloody 36-hour saga that ended Sunday morning with the arrest of one man in the small Mississippi town of Friars Point.
Mayor Herbert Thomas said none of the five officers was killed, and the man suspected in all five shootings -- as well as in the shooting of a man on Friday -- was in custody.
Friars Point Police Chief Anthony Smith had been trying to arrest Patrick Harper in connection with that Friday night shooting when the chief was shot in the neck on Saturday, allegedly by Harper, Thomas said.
Smith was hospitalized Sunday in satisfactory condition at The Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., nursing supervisor Jackie Smartt said. The other officers were reported to be in satisfactory condition or better.
After the police chief was shot, officers from the Coahoma County Sheriff's Department were called in and tracked Harper to a nearby home in Friars Point, a town of about 1,400 people 200 miles northwest of Jackson.
As officers tried to enter the at one-story, ramshackle home just after midnight Sunday, gunshots rang out, and both Friars Point officer John Martin-Harris and sheriff's deputy Victor Randle were shot, Thomas said.
With Harris hurt and apparently taken hostage inside the home, police units from surrounding counties, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Department of Corrections were called in.
Around 3 a.m., officers wearing bulletproof vests and armed with shields used a battering ram to burst through the door, said Mississippi Department of Corrections officer Kenny Scott. That's when the shooting continued.
Scott was hit in the thigh, and sheriff's deputy Neal Mitchell was also wounded.
Residents said police launched a two-minute barrage of gunfire that caused their houses to shake.
Around 5:30 a.m., Harris called from inside the home and the officers discovered that the suspect had slipped away.
Somehow, Harper managed to escape, with some 100 officers surrounding the home. Neighborhood lights had been shot out.
An hour later about 80 officers had Harper's grandmother's home surrounded with Harper inside. After two more hours of negotiations, Harper surrendered, Thomas said. He was being held at the Coahoma County jail.
Elsewhere . . .
HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Amtrak's high-speed Acela Express is returning to service sooner than planned, with nine of 18 trains set to run today, the railroad said. The trains, which can reach speeds of 150 mph, will make 30 departures from Washington, New York and Boston, compared with 50 on a normal day. Amtrak said repair work is progressing ahead of schedule.
TWIN IMPROVES: Maria Teresa Quiej Alvarez, one of the conjoined Guatemalan twins separated in a 22-hour operation, grew more alert Sunday as she recovered from a second follow-up surgery.
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