April 3, 2020 9:52:46 AM
Authorities released more details in an officer-involved shooting in North Columbus Wednesday, including allegations the victim had pointed a weapon at a Lowndes County deputy and stole an unmarked law enforcement vehicle during the incident.
Area law enforcement officers shot and killed Austin Hines, 19, of Columbus at about 8 a.m. near the intersection of Strawberry Street and 22nd Avenue North after leading officers on a pursuit from Ridge Road just north of Columbus.
Authorities said Hines was driving a pickup that had been reported stolen in the city and refused to yield to a Lowndes County deputy who attempted to pull him over on Ridge Road. According to the press release, deputies chased Hines into the city limits, where Columbus police became involved in the pursuit. Hines continued to the area of Waterworks Road, hitting multiple vehicles, including a law enforcement vehicle. He lost control of the truck and crashed on a stretch of railroad tracks near Waterworks Road and Seventh Avenue and ran from the vehicle.
The press release said he left a 15-year-old passenger in the car, though Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton previously told media there had been two passengers in the vehicle.
LCSO's press release said Hines encountered a deputy on Plum Street and pointed a weapon at him, after which "shots were fired." Hines then got into an unmarked patrol truck parked nearby and "ran among numerous law enforcement officers in the stolen deputies' truck which resulted in gunfire," the release said.
Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant pronounced Hines dead at the scene. Hines' body has been sent to the State Crime Lab in Pearl for autopsy. No other civilians or officers were harmed in the chase or the shooting.
Though authorities have not said whether it was Columbus police, county deputies or both who shot Hines, the press release said three Lowndes County deputies have been put on paid administrative leave for the incident, which is normal protocol in an officer-involved shooting. Shelton said Wednesday one police officer is on paid administrative leave.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation will handle the case.
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