MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations is investigating the shootout involving a Meridian Police officer and a kidnapping suspect.
The suspect is dead and the officer is okay after being shot during the exchange of gunfire early Sunday morning.
"The individual got out with a gun and he and the officer started to fight. The officer got his gun out and shots were exchange," Griffith says.
Meridian police captain John Griffith says an officer was hit three times by gunfire. The suspect died during the shootout.
"The assailant was hit by the officer and died as a result," Griffith says.
"It's really sad when somebody’s job is to protect us and they're in as much danger as we are," Meridian resident Dianna Armstrong.
Captain Griffith says the female was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident. He says the officer's vest saved his life.
Someone with the suspect’s family tells Newscenter 11 the deceased was in the Marines and suffered from PTSD.
Police say it all began just before the shooting. Police say a man and woman were riding with the now-deceased suspect when the suspect pulled a gun demanding the man get out of the truck. The man did so and the suspect drove away with the female. A message was put out notifying officers and deputies of the incident and to be on the look out for the truck. Police say the officer noticed the truck matching the description in the driveway of a home on Poplar Springs Drive. When the officer approached the truck, the man began shooting. The officer returned fire killing the suspect.
Captain John Griffith says the female was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident. He says the officer’s vest saved his life.
Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose says the shooting was justifiable and the officer did everything right leading up to the incident.
Newscenter 11 reaches out to MBI but our calls were not answered.
Meridian police released the following statement regarding the incident:
"On Sunday November 5, 2017, about 1:30 am Meridian Police Department received a call from a distraught individual that said he was put out of a vehicle by the driver at gunpoint whom then left with his girlfriend still in the vehicle. A Meridian Police Officer located the vehicle in the 3600 block of Poplar Springs Drive. Upon the Officer making contact, the driver exited the vehicle with a handgun and starting firing at the Officer. The Officer was hit three times by the driver’s gunfire taking two rounds to his ballistic vest. The Officer returned fire hitting the driver multiple times resulting in the death of the driver. The Officer is doing well and received minor injuries due to his protective vest. The female that the driver had left with was found inside the vehicle safe and uninjured.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigations is conducting the investigation and Meridian Police Department is assisting them with any information needed. The Officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay in accordance with standard operating procedures to allow for the adequate investigation of this incident and for the officer’s wellbeing.
Meridian Police Department wants to ensure the citizens and visitors to our city that this was an isolated incident and that their officers are safe and are working diligently to protect and serve your community. The Meridian Police Department and I would like to express our appreciation for the outpouring of support demonstrated to us by the citizens and community we protect and serve. We also remind our citizens that the driver has family and friends in our community that also need our support.”